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Maine Bounty Hunter Guide: Requirements and Steps

Over 1.3 million people live in Maine, which has relatively low rates of crime and incarceration compared to other states.1 Although private bail bonds are not explicitly prohibited in Maine, private bonds are rare in the state due to various court-supervised alternatives. In addition, recent reforms to the state’s bail code have reduced the need for court-supervised bail. Because of the lack of a private bail industry, Maine does not currently require bounty hunters, also known as bail enforcement agents, to become licensed in order to pursue fugitives who have skipped bail, or “skips.” At the same time, this lack of industry provides few opportunities for those who wish to pursue careers in bounty hunting. In this state, those who are interested in investigative careers may wish to consider instead becoming a private investigator or detective, who are known as professional investigators in Maine and must be licensed by the Maine State Police. Keep reading to find out more about the licensure process and requirements.

Requirements for Prospective Professional Investigators in Maine

In Maine, any person seeking to obtain information about the “identity, habits, conduct, movements, whereabouts, affiliations, associations, transactions, reputation or character of any person” is required to be licensed as a professional investigator. To qualify as a professional investigator, you must be at least 21 years of age and a citizen or resident alien of the United States, hold a high school diploma or GED, and meet the minimum education and experience requirements. Along with these requirements, there are additional steps you must take in order to earn your license.

Steps to a Career as a Professional Investigator in Maine

Professional investigators may perform a variety of tasks, which are typically related to investigating legal, financial, and personal information on behalf of their clients. Before applying for your Maine professional investigator’s license, you must ensure that you meet the state’s requirements for education and experience as well as pass an exam and background check. You will also need to complete a criminal background check. Continue reading to gain an understanding of the process.

1. Gain the required education and experience.

Maine state law sets specific education and experience requirements for prospective professional investigators. You can meet these requirements by completing any one of the following combinations:

  • A) Complete a sponsorship program as an investigative assistant plus at least 60 hours of college credit in a related field such as criminal justice or private investigation
  • B) Complete at least 60 hours of college credit leading to an associate degree in criminal justice, security management, or a similar course of study plus at least 2 years of non-clerical work experience in law or criminal justice
  • C) Have at least three years of employment in an investigative capacity on behalf of the federal government or three years of employment in the law enforcement agencies of state or local governments plus state-approved law enforcement training

For a full explanation of Maine’s education and experience requirements for professional investigators, refer to the Maine State Police Professional Investigator’s Handbook.

2. Apply for a professional investigator’s license.

After you have met the requirements above, in order to continue the process to become a professional investigator in Maine your application must be reviewed by the Maine State Police. You can access the application through the Special Investigations Unit of the Maine State Police. A complete application packet includes a total of four forms:

  • Application for a Professional Investigator License
  • Form P-3E, Authorization to Release information to the Chief of the Maine State Police
  • Authorization to Release information regarding commitments to the Riverview Psychiatric Center and the Dorothea Dix Psychiatric Center
  • Form 577 to support the above Authorization to Release

In addition to completing the forms noted above, you must also include with your application copies of the following documents:

  • High school diploma or GED
  • Birth certificate or resident alien card
  • All documentation supporting education and experience, including sponsorship program documents; law enforcement academy certificates; college transcripts and diplomas; or other documentation such as military discharge
  • A complete work history that includes job titles, duties, and documentation of beginning and ending dates of employment

Along with these documents, you must also submit an application fee of $50 and a State Bureau of Identification record check fee of $21.

3. Familiarize yourself with concealed carry law.

Although it is not required, many professional investigators carry a handgun while working. While a concealed carry permit is not ordinarily required in Maine, in order to carry legally in Maine while working as a professional investigator you must have a concealed carry permit issued by the Chief of the Maine State Police. Even if you do not wish to carry a firearm, the exam for professional investigators includes questions on concealed carry and responsible firearm use, so it is best to at least familiarize yourself with the law and best practices.

4. Pass the Maine Professional Investigators Examination

Once your application has been approved by the Maine State Police, you are ready for the next step, which is passing the Professional Investigators Examination. You will be informed of testing dates and procedures upon approval of your license and will not be eligible to test until you receive your authorization. The exam consists of 50 questions regarding Maine’s laws on professional investigation, concealed carry, criminal statutes, and ethics.

A passing score on this exam is 76% or better. In order to receive your license after passing the exam, you must pay a $450 licensing fee and provide proof of insurance, which is discussed below.

5. Obtain insurance meeting Maine’s requirements for professional investigators.

In order to begin working as a professional investigator in Maine, you must hold a Commercial General Liability insurance policy covering your professional activities and post a professional surety bond of $10,000 if a resident of the state or $50,000 if a non-resident. The general liability policy must name you as the insured and provide coverage for events arising from professional activities of at least:

  • $10,000 in property damages;
  • $100,000 for injury or death of a person;
  • $200,000 for injuries or deaths of more than one person

Note that these are minimum coverage requirements; seeking additional insurance is advisable. The surety bond must be executed on the Surety Bond for Professional Investigator form provided on the Maine State Police website.

6. Receive your license.

After all of your documentation has been reviewed and approved, you will receive your Maine professional investigator’s license. In order to keep your license active and in good standing, you must renew it every two years using the provided renewal cover letter and pay the $500 licensing fee.

Related Careers

Especially in states with smaller populations, professional investigators often work in related fields for supplemental income and meet potential new clients. One popular option is to work as a process server.

Process Server

Process servers may work independently for the courts or on behalf of an attorney or other organization to deliver documents relating to legal matters. Process servers are not required to be licensed in Maine but must follow Maine statutes and rules regarding process serving, which among other requirements ban service of process from being performed on Sundays. For more information, refer to the Maine Rules of Civil Procedure or your local courts.

Training and Education Options in Michigan

As mentioned above, professional investigators in Maine must meet education and experience requirements. A two- or four-year degree in criminal justice, law enforcement, or a related field is a strong foundation for a professional career even if you meet Maine’s requirements based on experience alone. Earning a formal education also shows potential clients that you are serious about your work. Listed below are a few Maine colleges that offer programs in criminal justice and related fields.

Central Maine Community College
1250 Turner St
Auburn, ME 04210
http://www.cmcc.edu

Eastern Maine Community College
354 Hogan Rd
Bangor, ME 04401
http://www.emcc.edu

Maine Criminal Justice Academy
15 Oak Grove Rd
Vassalboro, ME 04989
http://www.maine.gov/dps/mcja/index.shtml

Southern Maine Community College
2 Fort Rd
South Portland, ME 04106
http://www.smccme.edu

Finding Work

Most professional investigators rely on word-of-mouth to secure work, so forming professional networks is a must to find success in this career. Finding a professional mentor who can provide you with career advice based on his or her experience is a great way to begin building professional contacts. You can also consider joining professional associations or attending networking events.

Featured Professional Investigators in Maine

To help you start your career, we have provided the following list of highly-rated and well-known professional investigation agencies in Maine.

BlackRock Investigations & Consulting
533 ME-3
South China, ME 04358
http://www.blackrockmaine.com

Cady & Associates Investigation, Inc.
788 Forest Avenue
Portland, ME 04103
http://www.cadyinvestigations.com

Calderbank Investigations
400 Congress St #4622
Portland, ME 04101

Cunningham Investigations
PO Box 1693
Portland, ME 04104

Kennedy Investigation Group
PO Box 6954
Scarborough, ME 04070

Professional Investigator Salary and Outlook in Maine

While the US Bureau of Labor Statistics does not provide salary data for bounty hunters or private investigators in Maine, since detectives and criminal investigators perform similar work we have used this career as a proxy. In 2015, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics reported 590 detectives and criminal investigators working in Maine, earning an average annual salary of $65,830.2 According to Projections Central, demand for detectives and criminal investigators in Maine should remain stable through 2022.3 Please note that this detective and criminal investigator employment data is based on work in the public sector; salaries and employment vary for professional investigators in the private sector.

City or Metropolitan Area Number Employed Average Annual Salary
Bangor 50 $58,770
Northeast Maine Nonmetropolitan Area 150 $73,620
Portland-South Portland 180 $72,970
Portsmouth, NH-ME 40 $87,700
Southwest Maine Nonmetropolitan Area 180 $56,680

Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics as of May 2015.2

Additional Resources

References:
1. US Census Bureau Quick Facts, Maine: https://www.census.gov/quickfacts/table/PST045215/23
2. US Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2015 Occupational Employment and Wages, Maine: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_me.htm
3. Projections Central, Long Term Occupational Projections: http://www.projectionscentral.com/Projections/LongTerm