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Bounty Hunting is the art of skiptracing and apprehending bail fugitives for a reward.  A defendant charged with failure to appear has first signed a bail bond contract with a bailbond surety.  If he does not make his court date the bail bondsman will then call a bail enforcement agent, also called a bounty hunter or a fugitive recovery agent, who’s job it is to skip trace the defendant and arrest the fugitive.

Skip tracing and the eventual bail recovery takes patience, perseverance, and solid bail enforcement training.  Training to become a bounty hunter requires study in the following concepts:  surveillance, tailing vehicles, powers of arrest, arrest and booking procedures, handcuffing techniques, bail enforcement law, state laws affecting bail bonds and bond forfeiture, types of fugitive recovery services, locating bail clients, finding wanted people, pretext law and pretexting, working with indemnitors, history of bail, marketing and advertising bail bond services, ethics, computer database searches, private investigation, interviewing and interrogation, developing informants, use of wanted posters, bail enforcement equipment, bounty hunt gear required, and sometimes, but rarely- self defense and weapon training.  Not to mention federal laws, the Uniform Criminal Extradition Act, fugitive transportation, civil liability for bail agents, bounty hunter use of force, and a host of other potential pitfalls.

Bounty Hunter schools and academies such as the National Institute of Bail Enforcement (NIBE), formerly run by Bob Burton, the National Association of Bail Enforcement Agents, the Pacific Northwest Bail Academy are acceptable methods to learn how to become a bounty hunter but they can fall short of teaching you the entire business of the bail fugitive recovery industry and in reality most bail bondsmen may not care if you came from one of these bail enforcement schools.  They often contain outdated material written in the early 1990’s and following their advice may cause your own arrest!  Some institutes even maintain that you don’t really need a bail enforcement license, relying upon old Supreme Court decisions such as Taylor vs. Taintor (1872), which they imply state that a private citizen does not need a bounty hunter license in order to have a bail enforcer’s career.

As a private investigator, part-time bonding agent and full time bail enforcement agent of 10 years with over 1000 apprehensions, I personally recommend the National Surety Investigators Network (NSIN) presided over by L. Scott Harrell to those with questions regarding getting start in bail enforcement.  I also recommend his book, “Apprehending Bail Fugitives as the best choice in bounty hunter books, far surpassing the other material out there.

Thank you, and good luck in your pursuit of wanted fugitives and success!