For the purposes of this article, except where the context clearly requires otherwise, the following terms shall have the meanings ascribed to them:
(1) "Applicant" means a person who files a completed application as required by sections three and six of this article to be licensed to conduct a private investigation business or a security guard business. When a person other than a natural person is applying for a license, the applicant shall be the person whose qualifications are presented to meet the experience or education requirements of sections two or five of this article.
(2) "Private investigation business" means the business of doing an investigation or investigations, for hire, reward or any other type of remuneration, to obtain information about:
(A) A crime which is alleged to have occurred or is threatened to occur;
(B) The habits, activities, conduct, movements, location, associations, transactions, reputation or character of any person;
(C) The credibility of witnesses or other persons;
(D) The location or recovery of lost or stolen property;
(E) The causes or origins of any fire, accident or injury to any property, real or personal, or to identify or locate any person or persons responsible for any such fire, accident or injury;
(F) The truth or falsity of any statement or representation, whether written or oral, or of any type of depiction;
(G) Any matters which constitute evidence or which may lead to the discovery of evidence to be used before any judicial or quasijudicial tribunal, including, but not limited to, civil or criminal courts, administrative agencies, investigating committees, or boards of award or arbitration;
(H) The whereabouts of any missing or kidnapped person;
(I) The affiliation, connection or relationship of any person with any corporation or other business entity, union, organization, society or association, or with any official, member or representative thereof;
(J) Any person or persons seeking employment in the place of any employee or employees who have quit work by reason of any strike; or
(K) The conduct, honesty, efficiency, loyalty or activities of employees, agents, contractors and subcontractors.
(3) "Firm license" means the license held by a person whom the secretary of state has authorized to operate a private detective investigative firm or security guard firm after such person has filed and completed an application pursuant to the application requirements contained in sections three or six and has satisfied the eligibility requirements contained in sections two or five.
(4) "Person" means a natural person, a group of persons or individuals acting individually or as a group, a corporation, company, partnership, association, society, firm, or any business organization or entity organized or existing under the laws of this or any other state or country;
(5) (A) "Private detective" or "private investigator" means a person who is licensed pursuant to the provisions of this article to conduct a private investigation business, as defined in subdivision (2) of this section, and who conducts such business individually and independently from any private detective or investigative firm;
(B) "Private detective" or "private investigator" does not include:
(i) Any individual while acting as an adjuster for an insurance company or companies;
(ii) Individuals employed exclusively and regularly by only one employer in connection with the affairs of such employer only;
(iii) An officer or employee of the United States, or any law-enforcement officer of this state or any political subdivision thereof, while such officer or employee is engaged in the performance of his official duties or while working for a private employer in his off-duty hours;
(iv) Attorneys or counselors-at-law or any employee orrepresentative of such attorney or counselor;
(v) Any corporation duly authorized by this state to operate central burglar or fire alarm protection business; or
(vii) Any investigator of crime appointed by a prosecuting attorney of a county pursuant to the provisions of section two, article four, chapter seven of this code.
(6) "Private detective or investigative firm" means any private detective agency or business or any investigative agency or business that is operated by a licensed private detective or investigator and which employs one or more other persons who actually conduct the private investigation business as defined in subdivision (2) of this section.
(7) (A) "Security guard" means a person who is licensed pursuant to the provisions of this article to conduct a security guard business, as defined in subdivision (8) of this section, and who conducts such business individually and independently from a security guard firm.
(B) "Security guard" does not include a person who is employed exclusively and regularly by only one employer in connection with the affairs of such employer only, or a person who is otherwise hereinafter excluded from the requirements of this article;
(8) (A) "Security guard business" means the business of furnishing, for hire, reward or other remuneration, watchmen, guards, bodyguards, private patrolmen or other persons, to:
(i) Protect property, real or personal, or any person;
(ii) To prevent theft, unlawful taking, misappropriation or concealment of goods, wares or merchandise, money, bonds, stocks, notes or other valuable documents, papers and articles of value; or
(iii) To furnish for hire, guard dogs or armored motor vehicle security services, in connection with the protection of persons or property;
(B) "Security guard business" does not include any activities or duties for which it is necessary to be trained and certified as a law-enforcement officer in accordance with the provisions of article twenty-nine, chapter thirty of this code.
(9) "Security guard firm" means any security guard agency or business that is operated by a licensed security guard and which employs one or more other persons who actually conduct a security guard business as defined in subdivision (8) of this section.
Note: WV Code updated with legislation passed through the 2013 1st Special Session
The WV Code Online is an unofficial copy of the annotated WV Code, provided as a convenience. It has NOT been edited for publication, and is not in any way official or authoritative.