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Bail Bonds and Bounty Hunting: The Importance of Knowing the Difference

Friday, January 27, 2012

Stephen Owens of Owens Bonding in Wichita, KansasThe bail bond industry is portrayed on television and in the media as a dangerous business.  It conjures up images of big guys with guns running through the streets.  The reality is much different.  Bail Bondsmen or Bail Bond Agents are very much like any other insurance agent.  They sit in an office and underwrite an insurance policy.  Essentially that is what a bail bond is...it is an insurance policy taken out by the family or friends of the defendant as a guarantee that the defendant will show up for all scheduled court dates.  In very rare cases when that defendant doesn't show up for court, it is the bail agent’s responsibility along with the family to find them and return them to court. 

Stephen Owens of Owens Bonding in Wichita, KansasThe majority of people released on a bail bond do show up for court because they know that if they don't someone will come get them.  While the chances are very slim, every once and a while an individual does decide to run and not show up.  This is where the bail bondsman will use a fugitive recovery agent or bounty hunter to track the defendant down.  In a small fraction of these cases, the individual is considered violent and that is when a safe boring job becomes extremely dangerous. And this is the big distinction that needs to be made between a bail agent and a fugitive recovery agent.  Both play different roles and have different requirements. Unfortunately earlier this week, a fugitive recovery agent ran into one of those rare circumstances, where violence took center stage and they were shot.

Stephen Owens of Owens Bonding in Wichita, KansasExpertBail Agent Stephen Owens of Owens Bonding in Wichita, Kansas and active member of the Kansas Bail Agents Association was interviewed on the local news to discuss the situation as well as the precautions and preparation that bail agents must take to prevent these dangerous situations from arising.  Additionally, Stephen discussed the important distinctions between being a bail agent and a bounty hunter.  This includes everything from education to licensing to training. 

Written by Eric Granof

Click here to watch the interview.