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Private Detective Unit - The Private Detective Act of 1939 NJSP Badge
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L.1939, c. 369, p. 887, s. 1.

45:19-9. Definition of terms

Definitions:

(a) The term "private detective business" shall mean the business of conducting a private detective agency or for the purpose of making for hire or reward any investigation or investigations for the purpose of obtaining information with reference to any of the following matters, notwithstanding the fact that other functions and services may also be performed by the same person, firm, association or corporation for fee, hire or reward, to wit:

(1) crime or wrong done or threatened or assumed to have been done or threatened against the Government of the United States of America, or any State, Territory or Possession of the United States of America;

(2) the identity, habits, conduct, movements, whereabouts, affiliations, associations, transactions, reputation or character of any person, association, organization, society or groups of persons, firms or corporations;

(3) the credibility of witnesses or other persons;

(4) the whereabouts of missing persons;

(5) the location or recovery of lost or stolen property;

(6) the causes and origin of, or responsibility for, fires, libels, accidents, damage, injuries or losses to persons, firms, associations or corporations, or to real or personal property;

(7) the affiliation, connection or relation of any person, firm or corporation with any organization, society, association, or with any official member or representative thereof;

(8) with reference to the conduct, honesty, efficiency, loyalty or activities of employees, agents, contractors and subcontractors;

(9) the securing of evidence to be used before any investigating committee, board of award, board of arbitration, or in the trial of any civil or criminal cause; provided, however, that the term shall not include a person, firm, association or corporation engaged exclusively in the business of making investigations and reports as to the financial standing, credit and financial responsibility of persons, firms, associations or corporations nor to electrically controlled burglar or fire alarm system with a central unit, nor to any person, firm, association or corporation engaged in the business of making reports for insurance or credit purposes. Also it shall mean the furnishing for hire or reward of watchmen or guards or private patrolmen or other persons to protect persons or property, either real or personal, or for any other purpose whatsoever. The term shall not include and nothing in this act shall apply to any lawful activity of any board, body, commission or agency of the United States of America or of any State, Territory or Possession of the United States of America, or any county, municipality, school district, or any officer or employee solely, exclusively and regularly employed by any of the foregoing; nor to any attorney or counsellor-at-law in connection with the regular practice of his profession, nor to any person employed by any such attorney or counsellor-at-law when engaged upon his employer's business; nor to any employee, investigator or investigators solely, exclusively and regularly employed by any person, firm, association or corporation which is not engaged in any of the businesses hereinbefore described in items numbered one to nine, both inclusive, of this subSection in so far as their acts may relate solely to the business of the respective employers; nor to any person, firm, association or corporation licensed to do a business of insurance of any nature under the insurance laws of this State, nor to any employee or licensed agent thereof; nor to any person, firm, association or corporation conducting any investigation solely for its own account.

(b) The terms "the business of detective agency," "the business of investigator" and "the business of watch, guard or patrol agency" shall mean any person, firm, association or corporation engaged in the private detective business as defined in subSection (a) of this Section, who employs one or more persons in conducting such business.

(c) The terms "private detective" or "investigator" shall mean and include any person who singly and for his own account and profit conducts a private detective business without the aid or assistance of any employees or associates.

(d) The masculine shall include the feminine and the neuter genders.

(e) The term "superintendent" means the Superintendent of State Police.

(f) The terms "firm" and "association" shall include partnerships, but shall not include corporations.

L.1939, c. 369, p. 887, s. 2. Amended by L.1971, c. 342, s. 1, eff. Dec. 13, 1971.

45:19-10. License to conduct business, violation of Section as misdemeanor

No person, firm, association or corporation shall engage in the private detective business or as a private detective or investigator or advertise his or its business to be a private detective business or that of a detective agency or investigator without having first obtained from the superintendent a license to conduct such business, as hereinafter provided. Any person, firm, association or corporation who shall violate any of the provisions of this Section shall be guilty of a misdemeanor.

L.1939, c. 369, p. 889, s. 3.

45:19-11. Application for license; contents; approvals of reputable citizens; signing and verification; false statements as misdemeanor

Any person, firm, association or corporation desiring to conduct a private detective business or the business of a private detective or investigator, shall for each Bureau or agency, subagency, office and branch office to be owned, conducted, managed or maintained by such person, firm, association or corporation for the conduct of such business, file in the office of the superintendent a written application duly signed and verified, accompanied, in the case of an application by a person, with the written approval of not less than five reputable citizens who shall be freeholders of the county where such applicant resides or in the county in which it is proposed to conduct such business, and in the case of a firm, the written approval of five reputable citizens for each of the members of the firm who shall be freeholders of the county where each member of the firm resides or the county in which it is proposed to conduct such business, or in the case of an association or corporation, the written approval by five reputable citizens for each officer and director of the corporation who shall be freeholders of the county where such officers and directors reside, or of the county in which it is proposed to conduct such business. Such approvals shall be signed and acknowledged by the respective citizens before an officer authorized to take acknowledgments of conveyances of real property. The application shall state the following: Name, age, residence, present and previous occupations of the applicant, or in case of a firm, of each member of the firm, or in the case of an association or corporation, of each officer and director thereof; that each of the foregoing persons are citizens of the United States; the name of the municipality and the location therein by street number or other apt description where is to be located the principal place of business and the location of each Bureau, agency, subagency, office or branch office for which a license is desired, and such other facts as may be required by the superintendent as will tend to show the character, competency and integrity of each person or individual signing such application. Any person who shall knowingly state any fact falsely shall be guilty of a misdemeanor.

L.1939, c. 369, p. 890, s. 4.

45:19-12. Issuance of license; inquiries and investigations; fees; bond; duration of license; renewal; revocation; notification of changes; qualifications

The superintendent, when satisfied from the examination of any application and such further inquiry and investigations as he shall deem proper as to the good character, competency and integrity of the applicant and the persons named in the application, shall issue and deliver to the applicant a license to conduct such business. Such licensee shall be permitted to own, conduct and maintain one or more Bureaus, agencies, subagencies, offices or branch offices for the conduct of such business at the locations stated in said application, upon the payment by the applicant to the superintendent of a license fee for each location so licensed which in the case of an individual shall be $250.00, and in the case of a firm, association or corporation shall be $300.00. Any license or renewal thereof shall be further conditioned upon the applicant executing and delivering to the superintendent a bond with a surety company authorized to be surety in the State of New Jersey, as surety, and approved as to form, manner of execution and sufficiency by the superintendent of the State Police, running to the State of New Jersey and which shall be for the benefit of any person injured by willful, malicious or wrongful act of the applicant (with a sufficient surety bond), which in the case of an individual shall be $3,000.00, and in the case of a firm, association or corporation $5,000.00, which said bond shall be conditioned for the faithful and honest conduct of such business by the applicant. The license so granted by the superintendent shall be valid for a period of 2 years, and upon renewal thereof said applicant shall pay to the superintendent in the case of an individual a license fee of $200.00 and in the case of a firm, association or corporation $250.00 for each location for which such a license is renewed. The license shall be revocable by the superintendent after hearing for cause. In case of revocation or surrender of any license, no refund shall be made of any license fee paid under the provisions hereof. The license shall be in a form to be prescribed by the superintendent and shall set forth the full name of the applicant, the location of the principal office or place of business, and the location of each Bureau, agency, subagency, office or branch office for which the license is issued, date on which it is issued, the date on which it will expire, and the name or names of the persons named in the application, and their respective addresses. In the event of any change in the membership of the firm or in the officers or directors of any association or corporation or any change in the address of any office or location of such business the superintendent shall be notified in writing of such change within 5 days thereafter, and failure to give such notification shall be sufficient cause for revocation of such license.

No license shall be issued to a person under the age of 25 years, nor to any person, firm, association or corporation unless such person or at least one member of the firm and one officer or director of the association or corporation has had at least 5 years' experience as an investigator or as a police officer with an organized police department of the State or a county or municipality thereof, or with an investigative agency of the United States of America or any State, county or municipality thereof.

The superintendent and all members of the State Police shall hold as confidential all information obtained as a result of any investigation of any applicant or officer, assistant, or employee of any holder of any license issued under the provisions of this act, and the same shall not be divulged except by an order so to do by a court of record of this State.

L.1939, c. 369, p. 891, s. 5. Amended by L.1948, c. 152, p. 881, s. 1; L.1971, c. 342, s. 2, eff. Dec. 13, 1971.

45:19-12.1. Employees of licensee; fees payable by licensee; violation; penalty

a. Subsequent to the effective date of this act, every licensee shall pay to the superintendent an additional fee of $15.00 for each person in its employ engaged in said employment in this State as a private detective or investigator which terms shall include watchmen, guards and private patrolmen. Any licensee who shall employ any person in the aforementioned categories subsequent to its securing a license or renewal thereof and for whom the fee of $15.00 has not been paid shall pay the fee of $15.00 for each of said persons prior to the commencement of said employment with the licensee. Thereafter any licensee at the time of any renewal if its license hereunder shall pay a renewal fee of $5.00 for each of said employees in the aforementioned categories for whom an initial fee of $15.00 has been paid by said licensee.

b. Any licensee who shall employ any person in the aforementioned categories in subSection a. above without having paid the fees in accordance with said subSection a. shall be a disorderly person.

L.1971, c. 342, s. 3, eff. Dec. 13, 1971.

45:19-13. Surrender of license after expiration, revocation, etc.

Any person, firm, association or corporation to whom a license may be issued in accordance with this act shall surrender such license and all duplicate copies thereof to the superintendent within five days after such license shall have expired or shall have been revoked, suspended or surrendered. Failure to comply with the provisions of this Section shall constitute a misdemeanor.

L.1939, c. 369, p. 892, s. 6. 45:19-14. Posting and display of license; loss or destruction of license; change in location of office or place of business

Before any applicant shall exercise any rights under the license issued to him such license, or a certified copy thereof, shall be posted and at all times thereafter while the same is in force be displayed in a conspicuous place in the principal office and in each Bureau, agency, subagency, office or branch office for which it is issued. Any person, firm, association or corporation holding any license issued by the superintendent under this act who posts or permits such license to be posted upon premises other than those described therein, or to which it may be transferred pursuant to the provisions of this act, or who fails to maintain such license in a conspicuous place in such offices or places of business, or knowingly alters, defaces or destroys any such license or permits the alteration, defacement or destruction thereof, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor. In the event that any license or certified copy thereof issued by the superintendent is lost or destroyed, notice of such loss or destruction shall be given to the superintendent forthwith, and the superintendent may, in his discretion, issue a duplicate or certified copy thereof. Upon written application to the superintendent setting forth a proposed change in the location of any office or place of business of the licensee as set forth in his license, the superintendent may authorize a new location for any such office or place of business, in which case the licensee shall produce to the superintendent his license and all copies thereof, to the end that the superintendent may either endorse thereon such change of location or issue a new license as of the same date as the original license in lieu of the license so surrendered.

L.1939, c. 369, p. 893, s. 7.

45:19-15. Employment of assistants; false statements or misrepresentations; disclosure of information; false reports or statements to employer; reports on convictions

The holder of any license issued under the provisions of this act may employ to assist him in his work and in the conduct of his business as many persons as he may deem necessary, and he shall at all times during such employment be accountable for the good conduct in the business of each and every person so employed. No such employee need be the holder of a license issued under this act, but his employer shall be responsible for his actions and conduct in connection with such employer's business. Should the holder of a license falsely state or represent that any person is or has been in his employ, such false statement or misrepresentation shall be sufficient cause for the revocation of such license. Any person falsely stating or representing that he is or has been a detective employed by a private detective business licensed under this act shall be guilty of a misdemeanor. Any person who may be or has been employed by the holder of a license under this act shall not divulge to anyone other than his employer, or in such manner and to such person as his employer shall direct, any information acquired by him during such employment in respect to any work to which he shall have been assigned by such employer, except as such disclosure may be required by the provisions of this act or in connection with any investigation of a licensee by the superintendent. Any person violating any of the provisions of this Section, and any employee of a licensed private detective business who shall willfully make a false report or statement to his employer in respect to any matter or thing connected with his employment shall be guilty of a misdemeanor. The prosecutor of the pleas of the county in which any conviction for a violation of any provision of this act shall, within ten days thereafter, make and file with the superintendent a report showing the date of such conviction, the name of the person convicted and the nature of the charge.

L.1939, c. 369, p. 893, s. 8. Amended by L.1948, c. 152, p. 883, s. 2.

45:19-16. Employees of licensees; fingerprints

No holder of any unexpired license issued pursuant to this act shall knowingly employ in connection with his or its business in any capacity whatsoever, any person who has been convicted of a high misdemeanor or any of the following misdemeanors, or offenses, and who has not subsequent to such conviction received executive pardon therefor removing any civil disabilities incurred thereby, to wit:

(a) illegally using, carrying or possessing a pistol or other dangerous weapon;

(b) making or possessing burglar's instruments;

(c) buying or receiving stolen property;

(d) unlawful entry of a building;

(e) aiding escape from prison;

(f) unlawfully possessing or distributing habit-forming narcotic drugs;

(g) any person whose private detective or investigator's license was revoked or application for such license was denied by the superintendent or by the authorities of any other State or territory because of conviction of any of the crimes or offenses specified in this Section. Should the holder of an unexpired license falsely state or represent that a person is or has been in his employ, such false statement or misrepresentation shall be sufficient cause for the revocation of such license.

No person shall be employed by any holder of a license until he shall have executed and furnished to such license holder a verified statement, to be known as "employee's statement," setting forth:

(a) His full name, age, residence address, and place of and date of birth.

(b) The country of which he is a citizen.

(c) The business or occupation engaged in for the five years immediately preceding the date of the filing of the statement, setting forth the place or places where such business or occupation was engaged in, and the name or names of employers, if any.

(d) That he has not been convicted of a high misdemeanor or of any offense involving moral turpitude or of any of the misdemeanors or offenses described in this Section.

(e) Such further information as the superintendent may by rule require to show the good character, competency, and integrity of the person executing the statement.

Immediately upon the verification of an employee's statement, the holder of a license by whom such person has been or is to be employed shall cause three sets of fingerprints of the two hands of such person to be recorded in such manner as the superintendent may by rule prescribe. The holder of a license shall immediately stamp in indelible ink the employee's statement and each set of fingerprints with the name, year and license number of such holder and a number, which number shall be determined by the number of such statements furnished to such holder and shall be in numerical sequence.

The holder of a license shall affix one set of such fingerprints to the employee's statement in such manner that the prints can be examined without disclosing the contents of the employee's statement and shall retain such statement and prints so long as he shall be licensed under this act.

The holder of a license shall file the other two sets of fingerprints with the superintendent by forwarding the same by registered mail to the office of the superintendent, Trenton, New Jersey, within forty-eight hours of such employment.

Within five days after the filing of such fingerprints the superintendent shall cause such fingerprints to be compared with fingerprints filed with the State Bureau of identification and, if he finds any record affecting such prints, he shall immediately notify the holder of such license and shall also refer the matter to the prosecutor of the pleas of the county in which the employee resides. The superintendent may also from time to time cause such fingerprints to be checked against the fingerprints filed with the State Bureau of identification or of other official fingerprint files within or without this State, and if he finds that such person has been convicted of a high misdemeanor or any other offense specified in this Section he shall immediately notify the holder of such license and shall also refer the matter to the prosecutor of the pleas of the county in which the employee resides. The superintendent shall at all times be given access to and may from time to time examine the fingerprints retained by the holder of a license as provided in this Section.

If any holder of a license shall file with the superintendent the fingerprints of a person other than the person so employed, he shall be guilty of a misdemeanor.

L.1939, c. 369, p. 894, s. 9. Amended by L.1948, c. 152, p. 884, s. 3.


45:19-17. Identification card

For the purpose of identification of persons engaged in the conduct of a private detective business, or as a private detective or investigator, each such person shall carry and show when requested an identification card, which shall be a white card 4 1/4" x 2 1/2", in the form hereinafter set forth, to be signed, in the case of a private detective or investigator by himself, and in the case of employees of a private detective business by the employer as follows:

(1) If the bearer be a private detective or investigator, as follows:

Photograph (one square inch)

License No

Date of Expiration

THIS IS TO CERTIFY THAT [NAME] is licensed and bonded by the State of New Jersey as a private detective in pursuance to "An act to license and regulate the business of private detectives and private detective agencies, and providing penalties for violation of its provisions," and is vested with all authorities allowed him by law.

Signature of Private Detective.

(2) If the bearer be an employee of a private detective business, as follows:

Photograph (one square inch)

License No.

Date of Expiration

THIS IS TO CERTIFY THAT [NAME] is employed as an investigator, by the undersigned, a duly licensed and bonded private detective agency, in pursuance to "An act to license and regulate the business of private detectives and private detective agencies, and providing penalties for violation of its provisions," and is vested with all authorities allowed him by law.

Signature of Employee.

Signature of employer.

L.1939, c. 369, p. 894, s. 10.

45:19-18. Use or display of identification card of another

No private detective or investigator or employee of a private detective business who is in possession of any identification card, as provided for in the preceding Section, shall loan, allow or permit any other person to use or display such identification card, and in case of the loss of any such identification card, shall forthwith notify the superintendent of such loss and the circumstances surrounding the same. Any person violating the provisions of this Section or any person who shall display or use the identification card of another without authority, for the purpose of deceiving any person as to his identity shall be guilty of a misdemeanor.

L.1939, c. 369, p. 896, s. 11.

45:19-19. Badge or shield prohibited; exceptions

No person licensed under the provisions of this act, or the officers, directors, employees, operators or agents thereof, shall wear, carry or accept any badge or shield purporting to indicate that such person is a private detective or investigator or connected with the private detective business, but any such person, officer, director, employee, operator or agent, who is acting as a guard or performs any special service, may, while in uniform, and while on the premises of the employer of the licensee where he is so acting, wear a badge or shield inscribed with the name of the license holder, number, and the word "Guard" or "Special Service." Any person violating the provisions of this Section shall be guilty of a misdemeanor.

L.1939, c. 369, p. 896, s. 12. Amended by L.1953, c. 404, p. 2041, s. 1.

45:19-20. Misleading advertising, use of advertisement, seal or card

Any licensee under the provisions of this act shall, on notice from the superintendent, discontinue any advertising or the use of any advertisement, seal or card, which in the opinion of the superintendent may tend to mislead the public. Failure to comply with any such order of the superintendent shall be cause for revocation of the license of such licensee.

L.1939, c. 369, p. 896, s. 13.

45:19-21. Offenses in connection with issuance or use of identification cards

Any person, firm, association or corporation licensed under the provisions of this act who shall issue identification cards to any person other than a bona fide employee, or who shall sell, issue, rent, loan or distribute badges or membership cards indicating that the holder thereof is a private detective or investigator or is engaged in the private detective business, to any person or persons other than those lawfully entitled to such identification cards shall be guilty of a misdemeanor.

L.1939, c. 369, p. 896, s. 14.

45:19-22. Investigations; subpoenas; witnesses; fees; oath; willful false swearing

For the purpose of investigating the character, competency, integrity and methods of operation of applicants or licensees hereunder, or of the officers, directors, operatives, agents or employees of any applicant or licensee, the superintendent shall have the power to issue subpoenas and compel the attendance of witnesses. All such subpoenas shall be under the hand of the superintendent and the seal of the Department of State Police, and upon service thereof the witnesses shall be paid or tendered the fees to which they would be entitled if they were subpoenaed by a court of record. If the person duly subpoenaed shall fail to obey such subpoena without reasonable cause, or shall without cause refuse to be examined or answer any relevant or proper questions as to the character, actions or qualifications of such applicant or licensee or any of his employees he shall be guilty of a misdemeanor. The testimony of witnesses in any proceeding before the superintendent shall be under oath and the superintendent or a subordinate of the Department of State Police designated in writing by the superintendent may administer such oath, and willful false swearing in any such proceeding or inquiry shall constitute a high misdemeanor.

L.1939, c. 369, p. 896, s. 15.

45:19-23. Licensees of other states

Any person, firm, association or corporation incorporated or licensed under the laws of any other State of the United States, and intending to conduct a private detective business or act as a private detective or investigator within this State shall file in the office of the superintendent a written application duly signed and verified and obtain from the superintendent a license as herein provided and shall be subject to all the provisions of this act.

L.1939, c. 369, p. 897, s. 16.

45:19-24. Licenses under prior laws

Licenses issued under any other law of this State prior to the passage of this act, authorizing the conduct of a private detective business or the business of a private detective or investigator, shall continue in force until the expiration thereof, but such licensees in all other respects shall be subject to all the provisions of this act.

L.1939, c. 369, p. 897, s. 17.

45:19-25. Enforcement through Department of State Police

The superintendent is hereby authorized to use such members of the Department of State Police as he may deem necessary to enable him to carry out the provisions of this act and to enforce compliance therewith.

L.1939, c. 369, p. 898, s. 18.

45:19-26. Violation of Act as ground for revocation of license

A violation of any of the provisions of this act shall be cause for revocation of any license issued hereunder, notwithstanding that the same violation may constitute a misdemeanor or high misdemeanor.

L.1939, c. 369, p. 898, s. 19.

45:19-27. Effect of partial invalidity

Should any Section or provision of this act be held to be invalid by any court of competent jurisdiction, the same shall not affect the validity of the act as a whole or any part thereof other than the portion so held to be invalid.

L.1939, c. 369, p. 898, s. 20.








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