Oklahoma bounty hunters and bail bondsmen are awaiting news of the passage of Senate Bill 1013, otherwise known as the Bail Enforcement and Licensing Act. The Bill, which includes language regarding the regulation of bounty hunters in Oklahoma, couldn’t come too soon for many lawmakers and citizens in the state.
A visit from none other than Duane Lee Chapman (a.k.a. Dog the Bounty Hunter) and his wife, Beth, in April have given this issue even more attention. At a meeting at the Oklahoma Capitol, Chapman spoke on the floor of the House of Representatives, where he detailed a number of cases of bounty hunters who were out of control. “That is why I have come to tell lawmakers it’s time to step in.”
The Bail Enforcement and Licensing Act would require all bounty hunters and bail bondsmen in the State of Oklahoma to obtain a license with the Council on Law Enforcement and Education (CLEET). The measure has currently been unanimously approved by the Senate and is now awaiting hearing in the House.
Senate Bill 1872 would also require bounty hunters to have at least five years of experience in law enforcement to be licensed. Further, it would require bounty hunters to undergo training before receiving licensure by CLEET. The Bill would also allow licensed bounty hunters to carry weapons.
All bounty hunters in Oklahoma, under the Bill, would be required to wear clothing and badges that specifically identify them as being bounty hunters (bail enforcement agents), and they could only wear the clothing and badge when actively pursuing a fugitive.
The Bill was introduced by Senator Ralph Shortey following a case in Midwest City, where two bounty hunters broke into the wrong house looking for a fugitive and kept the man and his family hostage for an hour before they realized they made a mistake.