You Can Run But You Can’t Hide from the Bounty Hunter
Posted by Pamela S. on Thursday, July 12th, 2012
“You Can Run But You Can’t Hide” is the title of an autobiography by Duane “Dog” Chapman. The general public are familiar with bounty hunters or Bail Enforcement Agents from watching Dog The Bounty Hunter. The show was recently cancelled, but not before Dog became a household name. Duane “Dog” Chapman may be the most famous bounty hunter, but there are many other men and women out there hunting down bail jumpers.
Bounty hunters are employed by bail bond agents, or like Chapman, they are involved in both sides of the business. The bail bond industry is uniquely American. It is illegal in most other countries. A bail bond agent acts as a surety and posts bail for an accused. If that person skips, the agent loses their money, hence the hunt for the fugitive.
While bounty hunters may perform some of the same duties as private investigators, such as skip tracing and surveillance, most are not private investigators. Licensing requirements vary from state to state. Some states have no regulations or requirements.
The District of Columbia as well as the following states have banned or have strong restrictions regarding bounty hunters:
• North Carolina
• South Carolina
In Texas, a bounty hunter must also be licensed as a private investigator, an armed Level Level III security officer, or a peace officer. For a list of state licensing requirements for bail bonds and bounty hunters click here.
The authority of fugitive recovery agents also varies and a bounty hunter licensed in one state may face restrictions if the fugitive crosses state lines. If you have watched Dog the Bounty Hunter, you know that a bail enforcement agent can get in serious trouble by attempting to capture a fugitive in another country. Chapman was arrested in Mexico when he apprehended Andrew Luster, a fugitive who had been charged with drugging and raping women. Some bounty hunters have been arrested for apprehending the wrong subject, or causing the death of a fugitive. It is a very dangerous job; much more so than private investigation, where we usually try to avoid coming into direct contact with our subject.
Like private investigators, bounty hunters have been glamorized in the media and popular culture. Most fugitive recovery agents try to fly under the radar. Your average bounty hunter doesn’t run around wearing a leather vest, showing off bulging muscles, with long decorated hair flying in the breeze. And really, who would want to? That style is one of a kind.
To see how a bounty hunter operates when they don’t have the eyes of the world upon them, click on over to Pursuit Magazine to see “A Day in the Life of a Bail Enforcement Agent”.
That is not to say that Chapman is not a real bounty hunter. Chapman, his fifth wife Beth, and his children have operated the family business, Da Kine Bail Bonds in Honolulu, Hawaii for many years. They claim to have captured over 6,000 fugitives.
While you may obtain a license to become a bail bond agent in Florida, bounty hunters are not allowed to operate in the state. Bail bond agents in Florida have limited powers with regard to the apprehension of fugitives. To learn more check the website of the Florida Department of Financial Services.
Former FBI Assistant Director Tom Sheer has recruited the best from the FBI, DEA, IRS and Secret Service to build a formidable team at Sheer Investigations. Our private investigators have the sensitivity and experience to handle the most delicate investigations.