top of page


Working Together Towards a Safer Tomorrow

Over 50 years ago, Royston R. Hall, of Fidelity Detective Bureau, gathered a group of men operating as Private Detectives Maryland. These men formed the Maryland Detective Association. As a result, they were responsible for the enactment of the official private detective law by the general assembly. This law evolved into what we now know as Title 13 and Title 19, under which we operate today.

The Maryland Detective Association survived until 1959. During 1965, the Maryland Detective Association was reborn as the Maryland Investigation and Security Association, Inc. Charter members were Royston Hall, Charles Dennis, Marshall Meyer, Dave Kinser, George Herman, Melvin Ridge, and Frank Alessi. They initiated a professional relationship with the Maryland State Police Licensing Section, and the State Legislature. From 1965 until the mid 1980’s, the Association helped avoid damaging legislation and backed laws favorable to our profession. This was accomplished by using lobbyists to assist the membership in becoming proactive rather than reactive. As many as 40 agencies sent representatives to committee hearings throughout Maryland, to support various pieces of legislation. In 1968, with the help of Major Thomas S. Smith, Maryland State Police, legislation passed granting private detectives the right to carry weapons.

The Association encountered few problems until the Plain English rewrite of Article 56 of the Annotated Code of Maryland. Title 13 replaced Article 56 in the late 1980’s and governed the activities of both private detectives and security guards. In 1994, the members voted overwhelmingly to take a stand concerning firearms issues before the Maryland General Assembly, since they are a tool sometimes utilized by both professions. However, some of the leadership opposed the membership’s mandate and as a result, they resigned. Before long, new officers took their place who were more responsive to the membership. In 1996, the previous corporation dissolved and was reformed as the Maryland Investigators and Security Association, Inc.

The Association hired the lobbying firm of Government Affairs – Maryland in 1997, once again became proactive, and welcomed the input of all members. The officers and Board members have dedicated themselves to the furtherance of the goals of the association through an enlightened membership. M.I.S.A. is recognized as the voice for private detectives and security guards in Annapolis as well as with the Maryland State Police.

MISA has been instrumental in correcting the unforeseen consequences of separating Title 13, that occurred in 1996, into Title 13 (private detectives) and Title 19 (security guards). MISA protects the interests of both professions as well as the public, through our involvement in legislation, regulations and training seminars. The membership has progressed from less than 40 to over 100 today. The majority of MISA members are agency licensees. Their input directly shapes the legislative, regulatory, training, and other pertinent issues the association endeavors to achieve.

Historian, Frank Alessi

bottom of page