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Cleaning up the bounty hunter profession and reputation

Updated:
Most modern-day bounty hunters have come a long way since the days of shooting first and pocketing the reward. However, some rogue bounty hunters are putting us all in danger.

That’s why Okahoma's bail-bondsmen are asking for a new law, as News on Six crime reporter Lori Fullbright explains.

We tagged along with these Oklahoma City bounty hunters a few years ago as they tracked down people who'd skipped out on their bond. They made some arrests, but not long afterward, one of them was dead, the other in prison after a fight between the partners turned to gunfire.

It's that type of thing that worries Mike Evans, a former officer and DA investigator and currently, the president of Tulsa's Bail Agent's Association. "The individual we're after does not want to go back to jail and if you're not trained, you become a hazard to the public.” Anyone can become a bounty hunter right now in Oklahoma. In fact, some are even convicted felons, which can amount to loose cannons, often with guns and always with a lot of power. "We can cross state lines, we can break and enter into a house and arrest on the Sabbath. It's like a defendant is a puppet on a string and we can pull that string at any time."

That's why Evans is trying for the fourth time, to get the state legislature to pass a law to require a license, training and regulation, to legitimize the good guys and keep out the riff-raff. That would also help get rid of old stereotypes. "When I was involved in law enforcement, my image of them as a fat, cigar-smoking bald guy sitting in a dark corner, with a prostitute for a secretary."

Evans quickly found out that image was outdated. Nearly half of all bail agents are now women and many have college degrees and own their own businesses. Because the profession has changed with the times, Evans and other bail agents, wish the law would also change with the times.

The fact is, bounty hunters find 85% of all fugitives and it doesn't cost taxpayers a dime, but, as with any industry, the bad apples can spoil the barrel.
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