The age-old industry known as bounty hunting dates back to the Wild West, when wanted ads of local and national fugitives were posted throughout towns with rewards listed on them for the capture of those fugitives. Back then, rewards were roughly $5,000 per person, and it did not matter if the fugitive was brought to justice dead or alive. All the local law enforcement wanted was for the fugitives to be away from public, no matter the method. Bounty hunters, then and now, work for a percentage of the bail money the fugitive has to pay to the justice system. Bounty hunting has become a serious profession these days, with most bounty hunters being trained and licensed to operate where they live.
The following five items are some interesting facts you did not know about bounty hunters:
1. Bounty hunter is not the preferred name for this profession anymore. The name used now is fugitive recovery agent or bail enforcement agent. These two names are more politically correct in today’s society and are respected by members of the industry and of the justice system alike.
2. Some fugitive recovery agents have more authority to arrest fugitives than police officers. This all depends on the state the bounty hunter is operating in and its bounty hunting laws, which is legal across the country. Kentucky, Illinois, and Oregon prevent bounty hunting completely. A court order needs to be issued to a bounty hunter and then a police officer can make the arrest. The bounty hunter can then request that the fugitive be turned over into his or her hands.
3. Bounty hunters are no longer allowed to bring home fugitives dead or alive, they must be alive and not roughed up at all. Broken bones, bruises, scratches and other injuries will not be accepted by the justice system. Fugitives who have been beaten up will not be sent to jail because of the legal liability involved.
4. Believe it or not, most fugitive recovery agents wear Bail Recovery Agent badges these days so they are identifiable to local law enforcement agencies, the public, and the fugitives they are chasing so no problems arise during the chase.
5. Broad authority for bounty hunters arose in 1873 in the United States with the Supreme Court case of Taylor vs. Taintor. This Supreme Court case gave bounty hunters across the country authority to act on behalf of bail bondsmen and arrest fugitives who have skipped bail. This case also gave bounty hunters permission to chase the fugitive into another state and enter the fugitive’s place of residence to make an arrest.
Bounty hunting has become a multi-million dollar industry in the United States over the past couple of decades. A talented fugitive recovery agent can make roughly $80,000-$100,000 per year arresting fugitives. They will need to work anywhere from 50-150 cases to make this much money, which can be an exhausting task. Many bfugitive recovery agents spend 80-100 hours per week chasing fugitives, working on stakeouts, doing research and finally tracking down their target.