There is a huge misconception around the legality of badges for Private Investigators in Texas. The bottom line they are legal as long as proper guidelines are followed.
Badges are legal for Texas Private Investigators
First, I have to start with a disclaimer to this article my research on this topic only applies to a Texas Private Investigator. Ok, now in this weeks blog I plan on stirring up some controversy and await the drove of comments stating I am wrong. If there is one thing I will admit it is that I don't know everything, but I do thirst for knowledge. One topic that I was curious about one day was the legality surrounding badges and Private Investigators. I beat this topic up pretty hard with research from every angle possible and one thing I learned is everyone has an opinion without quantitative facts supporting their claim. I scoured over various laws and everything is centered around impersonating a police officer and common sense on that goes a long way on this which will bring us into what can a badge for a Texas Private Investigator have on it.
What can my Texas Private Investigator badge have on it?
The words Private Investigator or something indicating you work in a Private Investigation capacity
Your company license number
Your company name
What can my Texas Private Investigator badge NOT have on it?
Anything indicating you are law enforcement
The State of Texas seal
Department of Public Safety
To Strengthen my claim that badges are legal for a Texas Private Investigator
1702 Chapter Code OCC 1702.3867 which states as follows.
(a) A private investigator executing a capias or an arrest warrant on behalf of a bail bond surety may not:
(3) wear, carry, or display any uniform, badge, shield, or other insignia or emblem that implies that the private investigator is an employee, officer, or agent of federal government, the state, or a political subdivision of the state
So first if you want to use some common sense here you can ask yourself why is this law here in the first place? Well, if you are a Texas Private Investigator carrying out a capias then you are conducting an arrest and in the heat of the moment someone could view you as an officer of the law. If you are not carrying out an arrest then a badge is fair game as long as it complies with the guidelines laid out in this article and as long as you present yourself as a Texas Private Investigator. If a badge was not fair game in every other scenario then the law would simply state that it is prohibited for a Texas Private Investigator to carry a badge; so, carrying out an arrest warrant is the only exception to the rule so be sure to leave your badge at home if you are conducting a capias.
Another point to bring up is security guard companies you will occasionally see them wearing a badge. You don't see Private Investigators walking around in Texas sporting a badge due to the nature of their work. When conducting a Private Investigation an investigator does not want to blow their cover by sporting a badge. Additionally, those security guards are regulated by the same Texas Regulatory Services Division as Private Investigators to add more weight that a Texas Private Investigator can carry a badge as long as it does not indicate anything that they are an affiliate of law enforcement.
The final leg of my research conducted is I made good phone friends with an extremely nice lady that worked in compliance with the Texas Regulatory services division. She is now retired as of recent; however, having worked there for over twenty-years and her indicating that they do not regulate a Private Investigators ability to carry a badge pretty much says it all.
The decision is simply up to the investigator. As long as you use common sense on what can do and use the simple short guide I provided above then get ready for your field investigators and badge up! Don't abuse your badge, but do enjoy it you earned it! Anyone who has gone through the red tape that the State of Texas has for someone to become a Private Investigator deserves the feel good of having their own badge. Badge up and feel important because you are!