LPDAM History

Origins of the Investigative Industry


Today’s investigative industry is a far cry from its French origin in the early 1800’s. In 1833, Eugene Francois Vidocq, a French soldier, criminal, and privateer, founded the first known private investigation agency, “Le des Renseignements Universels pour le Commerce et L’industrie.” (The Office of Universal Information for Commerce and Industry) Back then, Vidocq often used ex-cons in his investigations, based on his belief that criminals have a better understanding of the issues he was hired to investigate. Despite his questionable reasoning and less-than-desirable employee base, Vidocq is credited with having introduced record-keeping, criminology and criminal ballistics to the private investigation process.

The origin of private investigation in the United States is considerably more professional and dates back to the mid 1800’s. In 1850 Allan Pinkerton founded the Pinkerton National Detective Agency. Pinkerton grew his reputation and agency by preventing an assassination attempt on President Abraham Lincoln, and pursuing well-known outlaws such as Jesse James and Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. At its height, the Pinkerton Agency employed more agents than the standing army of the United States. The Pinkerton Agency went on to form the United States Secret Service, the agency currently responsible for protecting presidents and other dignitaries.

Over time, the investigative industry transitioned from preventing strikes and protecting wealthy barons and dignitaries to addressing the more diverse social issues of today. In today’s world, investigators are hired by private citizens for a host of reasons, creating extensive growth within the industry.


History of Licensed Private Detectives Association of Massachusetts (LPDAM)


As a result of the industry’s growth referenced above, a group of Massachusetts-based private investigators saw the need to create an organization designed to protect the rights of Massachusetts private investigators.

In March of 1989, four “founding fathers” met with the intention of uniting the Massachusetts private investigation industry. The original goal of the organization was to stop the continually escalating state licensing fees for private detectives, through the formation of a dedicated fraternal organization.

In April of 1991, the founding fathers, including Arthur Murphy from Georgetown, Ron Rice from Pembroke, Phil White from Brockton and Donald Watts from Randolph officially formed the Licensed Private Detectives Association of Massachusetts.

In 1994 a decision was made to incorporate, and a not-for-profit 501 C-3 organization was created. Officers, including a president, vice president, secretary, treasurer, and sergeant-at-arms were appointed, and a Board of Directors elected to manage the Association. A Constitution, By-laws, and Code of Ethics were developed and ratified by the sitting Board.

Throughout the years that followed, LPDAM was responsible for initiating investigative reforms, including, but not limited to: being amongst the first to offer educational seminars for private investigators, convincing the Massachusetts State Police to issue photo identification cards to investigators, getting NYNEX to issue headers for licensed private investigators, reducing state-required applicant and renewal fees, retaining lobbyists to protect the interest of LPDAM members, retaining corporate council to protect the Association’s rights, fight to include private investigators in the Federal Drivers Privacy Protection Act and establish the New England Council of State Investigative Associations.

Current initiatives include creating an LPDAM modernized web site and database, re-writing the original Constitution and By-laws, continuing the practice of delivering first-class educational seminars, and creating a congenial, working relationship with the Massachusetts State Police Certification Unit, the agency responsible for oversight of private investigators throughout the state.
LPDAM continues to fight for its members on a daily basis; future initiatives include addressing window tinting with both the MSP and inspection stations, potentially obtaining on-line access to RMV records, and working with the state to address CPCS annual shortfalls.

LPDAM is the premier organization for private investigators in Massachusetts. While no one knows for sure what the future holds for the private investigation industry, rest assured LPDAM will be there fighting for the rights of its members!

If you are not currently a member, please consider joining at www.LPDAM.org.