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Bounty Hunters: A Look Behind the Hype

NCJ Number
Policing: An International Journal of Police Strategies and Management Volume: 28 Issue: 1 Dated: 2005 Pages: 118-138
Ronald Burns; Patrick Kinkade; Matthew C. Leone
Date Published
21 pages
This article presents findings from a survey identifying and assessing the current state of professionalism and operations in the field of bail recovery or bounty hunting.
Over the years, the identity of the “bounty hunter” has been exploited in order to excite public interest through the media, as well as the profession itself has added to the mystery of their professional activities. This article attempts to establish an empirically grounded description of this group of professionals and of their professional activities. A multi-method approach was used, which integrated information from interviews with bond agents with information taken from a survey of workers in the bond field to identify and assess the present state of professionalism and operations in the area of bail recovery or bounty hunting. Results of the survey suggest the typical bail enforcement agent does not substantially differ from the typical police officer. The survey results also suggest that males are still overwhelmingly attracted to the position and still constitute the strong majority of agents. Additional findings include: (1) average age of 51; (2) 25 percent reported having obtained a 4-year college degree; (3) about one-third reported experience in law enforcement; (4) almost half reported having specialized skills in weaponry; (5) money was the biggest reason for becoming a bail enforcement agent; and (6) most believed that bail enforcement agents are an under-appreciated component of the criminal justice system. References


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