Records Appraisal Report:
Texas Board of Private Investigators and Private Security Agencies
1998 Addendum

Contents of this report
Agency Contact | Record Series Reviews

Internal links to series reviews
Legal opinions and advice
Litigation files

Related report
1996 Appraisal report

Archival finding aid
Texas Private Security Board: An Inventory of Private Security Board Minutes at the Texas State Archives, 1969-2004


December 31, 1998, Tony Black, Appraisal Archivist


Agency Contact

Agency contact information for each series was current at the time of the report but may have changed in the interim. Please call (512-463-5455) for current contact information of the agency's records manager or records liaison for these records.


Record Series Reviews

Additional Record Series Review
Series Title: Legal opinions and advice

Agency: Texas Board of Private Investigators and Private Security Agencies

Contact: Stephen Foster, Hearings Officer

Obsolete record series? No
Ongoing record series? Yes
Annual accumulation: fractional

Agency holdings: Legal opinions and advice (1 cubic ft.) are retained by the agency as long as they are administratively valuable. The agency's actual holdings are 1976-[ongoing].

Description: This series consists of legal opinions and advice from the Attorney General's office to the staff of the Board of Private Investigators and Private Security Agencies, dating 1976-[ongoing]. An example of such advice includes a list of the types of crimes involving moral turpitude.

Purpose: This record is created when legal advice is given to the agency by the Attorney General's office, in order to aid the agency in fulfilling its legal obligations to all parties, including the citizens of the State of Texas. Note: This series should not include any legal opinions or advice rendered on a matter in litigation or with regard to pending litigation; these kinds of legal advice belong in the other series being appraised in this supplemental report, Litigation files.

Agency Program: Duties of the board include the following: administering examinations to applicants, and licensing, commissioning, and registering persons and companies in the private security professions; approving schools and instructors to train security officers; establishing training requirements and criminal history background checks for armed private security personnel; and investigating complaints from law enforcement agencies, consumers, and the general public. (Vernon's Ann. Civ. St., Article 4413(29bb))

Arrangement: Chronological

Access constraints: None

Use constraints: None

Indexes or finding aids required for, or an aid to access? None

Gaps? None; legal opinions were not sought for the first seven years of the agency's existence.

Problems: None

Known related records in other agencies: None

Previous destructions: Destruction requests on file in the Archives and Information Services Division of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission were checked for the Texas Board of Private Investigators and Private Security Agencies, and none were found for this series or for equivalent or related series.

Publications based on records: None

Series data from agency schedule:
Title: Legal opinions and advice
Series item number: 1.1.014
Agency item number: 150
Archival code: R
Retention: AV

Archival holdings: None at the Archives and Information Services Division of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission.

Appraisal Decision: The Board of Private Investigators and Private Security Agencies has no in-house counsel, and must rely on the Attorney General for legal advice and opinions. Occasionally included in the archival series Meeting minutes are attorney general opinion reviews; the Archives and Information Services Division of the Texas State Library has a complete set of these minutes, 1969-1998. It is probably also safe to assume that such advice and opinions are well-documented in the records of the Attorney General.

The earlier recertification of the records retention schedule of the Board of Private Investigators and Private Security Agencies (approved November 1994, the one on which I based my appraisal in March 1996) gave no archival code to this series. That was in accord with the Texas State Records Retention Schedule (RRS) revised in May 1992. That earlier edition of the RRS made a distinction between Legal opinions and advice from the Attorney General (1.1.014, where "The Office of the Attorney General retains copies permanently"), and Legal opinions and advice from agency legal counsel (1.1.015, coded "R" for archival review). The 2nd edition of the RRS (effective January 1998) combined these two series into one (1.1.014, "Legal opinions and advice from agency legal counsel or the Attorney General, including any requests eliciting the opinions"), coded "R" for archival review.

Since these legal opinions and advice are from the Attorney General, the series is essentially duplicated in the Attorney General's records, as well as being adequately summarized in the board's minutes. Therefore this series is not archival. The Board of Private Investigators and Private Security Agencies should replace the "R" code with the new archival code of "E" (meaning "Exempted based upon archival appraisal"). They need not be transferred to the Archives and Information Services Division of the Texas State Library for either retention or review, but may be discarded whenever the board deems them no longer administratively valuable (AV).

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Additional Record Series Review
Series Title: Litigation files

Agency: Texas Board of Private Investigators and Private Security Agencies

Contact: Stephen Foster, Hearings Officer

Obsolete record series? No
Ongoing record series? Yes
Annual accumulation: 0.25 cubic ft.

Agency holdings: Litigation files (6 to 8 cubic ft.) are retained by the agency until the case is closed, terminated, completed, expired, or settled; they are then stored in the State Records Center for an additional two years. The agency's actual holdings are 1986-[ongoing].

Description: This series consists of files concerning cases in which litigation was initiated (or contemplated) against the Board of Private Investigators and Private Security Agencies, dating 1986-[ongoing]. These files typically contain correspondence to and from the Attorney General's office, correspondence to and from the person initiating the litigation, interoffice communications, and court documents (if the case went into litigation). Such litigation includes suits by both individuals and companies.

Purpose: This record is created to prepare for real or potential litigation in which the Board of Private Investigators and Private Security Agencies is involved, and to conduct that litigation.

Agency Program: Duties of the board include the following: administering examinations to applicants, and licensing, commissioning, and registering persons and companies in the private security professions; approving schools and instructors to train security officers; establishing training requirements and criminal history background checks for armed private security personnel; and investigating complaints from law enforcement agencies, consumers, and the general public. (Vernon's Ann. Civ. St., Article 4413(29bb))

Arrangement: Chronological

Access constraints: Although these records are listed as open ("O") on the agency's records retention schedule, they very possibly contain materials that are normally closed due to attorney-client privilege and/or attorney work product. (V.T.C.A., Government Code, Sections 552.107 and 552.111)

Use constraints: None

Indexes or finding aids required for, or an aid to access? None

Gaps? No litigation files exist prior to 1986.

Problems: None

Known related records in other agencies: None

Previous destructions: Destruction requests on file in the Archives and Information Services Division of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission were checked for the Texas Board of Private Investigators and Private Security Agencies, and none were found for this series or for equivalent or related series.

Publications based on records: None

Series data from agency schedule:
Title: Litigation files
Series item number: 1.1.048
Agency item number: 330
Archival code: R
Retention: AC + 2

Archival holdings: None at the Archives and Information Services Division of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission.

Appraisal Decision: Litigation is a serious matter in the life of any state agency, but not all litigation files are of enduring value. Some cases are precedent-setting, and/or involve issues that have more historical value than other cases. Because of the mixed nature of this series, it may not be possible to determine whether the whole series merits archival retention without examining each file on a case-by-case basis.

The earlier recertification of the records retention schedule of the Board of Private Investigators and Private Security Agencies (approved November 1994, the one on which I based my appraisal in March 1996) gave no archival code to this series. That was in accord with the Texas State Records Retention Schedule (RRS) revised in May 1992, although that model document stated in the Comments column the following: "Review before disposal; some cases that set legal precedents may merit a review by the State Archives for historical reasons." The 2nd edition of the RRS (effective January 1998) gives this series an archival code of "R" and states in the Comments column the following: "cases that set legal precedent or exhibit historical value will be evaluated by the Archives and Information Services Division of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission for archival preservation."

A legitimate question is whether this agency's litigation is adequately documented in any other archival series that the agency creates. A cursory review of Meeting minutes in our holdings failed to reveal any information concerning litigation. Two other normal records series where one would expect to find documentation of litigation - administrative correspondence and annual reports - are not produced by this agency. In 1996 I questioned former Records Administrator Roger Darrow about these two series (which both appeared on their retention schedule at that time), and he explained that they were both "empty" series. Substantive correspondence of the agency is always placed in some appropriate records series, such as investigative complaints, company applications, individual applications licensed, or litigation files. And the agency produces annual financial reports, but not the kind of narrative report meant by the designation "annual and biennial reports." Therefore litigation files contain apparently the only documentation of litigation in which this agency has been involved, outside of the Attorney General's office.

This particular board has occasionally been involved in controversy, such as the board's firing of the Executive Director in April 1997, and investigations by the Travis County District Attorney and the Texas Department of Public Safety regarding a state audit in May 1997. Of course these incidents were respectively administrative and criminal, rather than civil matters (which is the focus of litigation). But controversy in one area suggests the possibility of controversy in the other.

Although not overwhelming, the volume of litigation files for this agency is substantial (amounting to about one filing cabinet's worth over a 12-year period).

To summarize:

  • Litigation files are by nature uneven in significance, and usually require case-by-case consideration from the standpoint of archival appraisal.
  • There is no other series created by this agency which adequately summarizes litigation. In fact, the only archival series are Meeting minutes, Biennial budget requests, Organization charts, and Strategic plans.
  • The agency has been involved in past controversies.
  • The volume of their litigation files is not huge, but it is significant.

For all of these reasons, litigation files from this agency have been appraised to be archival. The Board of Private Investigators and Private Security Agencies should replace the "R" code with an archival code of "A" on their records retention schedule. They should then transfer to the Archives and Information Services Division of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission all litigation files that have been closed, terminated, completed, expired, or settled, and that have been stored in the State Records Center for an additional two years. After they have been transferred, these litigation files may be subjected to a further, in-house appraisal by the appraisal staff of the Texas State Library.

As to the issue of confidentiality of some records due to attorney-client privilege and/or attorney work product, the Board of Private Investigators and Private Security Agencies should do one of the following:

  • separate those items from the rest of the files and not include them in the transfer (always indicating when a document is missing, and for what reason); or
  • waive (in writing) their claims to confidentiality of records based on attorney-client privilege and/or attorney work product. This latter choice is the one preferred by the Texas State Library and Archives Commission.
Page last modified: August 31, 2011