In 1982 roughly a dozen or so private investigative firm owners had been getting together once a month at the Black Angus Restaurant in Springfield, Virginia for quite some time. These gatherings were purely social in the beginning, but eventually an idea emerged; to establish an association of private investigative firms to promote and maintain the highest practices of the profession. Further, this association would foster a spirit of cooperation, develop trust, goodwill and friendship among its member's, law enforcement, and the citizens of the Commonwealth of Virginia.  This association would be called the “Private Investigators Association of Virginia.”

Since its founding, the members of our association have been regulated by a series of state agencies. Initially it was the Virginia Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation (DPOR); then, the Virginia Department of Commerce; next, the Department of Criminal Justice Services Private Security Services (DCJS, PSS); followed by, the Division of Regulatory Affairs; and presently, the Division of Law Enforcement and Private Security Services, DCJS.

Our list of our past and current members reads like a "Who’s Who" of the industry. Our membership consists of both individuals just starting out in the investigative world, to former seasoned veterans of Federal Agencies such as CIA, FBI, US Secret Service, US Marshals Service, US Immigration and Customs Enforcement to State, DoD, County and Local law enforcement agencies. Many members are licensed/registered in other states and jurisdictions as well, and many speak several foreign languages. Our members are often featured in the media; some are authors, some are lawyers, many are instructors and we also had a medical doctor as a member once who was also a registered Private Investigator.  Several of our members have served and are currently serving on the Governor’s Private Security Services Advisory Board (PSAAB), and several have served and one is currently serving as the President of the Council of International Investigators (CII).

Since its inception our association has had a total of fourteen presidents. In October 1985, Ms. Joan Beach broke the glass ceiling in the private investigation world as the first woman to hold the position of President when she became the fourth President of PIAVA. She held this position for four years and she is still an active member of PIAVA today.  Throughout the years, our association evolved from being a group in which Regular Membership was reserved for only the owners of private investigative firms, and registered private investigators were called Associate Members, to one in which Regular Members are now any private investigator registered through the Department of Criminal Justice Services. That is not the only thing that has changed. Our Association has come a long way.  From its early beginnings of a dozen like-minded Private Investigative business owners, to our current membership of hundreds of registered private investigators throughout the Commonwealth of Virginia.

Our association is strong, our accomplishments are many, and we enjoy a good working relationship with our regulating body. We prefer to work behind the scenes in furtherance of the Private Investigation profession within the Commonwealth of Virginia and will continue to do so. Our reward is in knowing that we operate within the Code of Ethics to which we subscribe and in the spirit of our Preamble. We take pride in our association.

We are the Private Investigators Association of Virginia.


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