In order to serve as a bounty hunter in Hawaii, candidates must complete the following process:
|Determine Eligibility in Hawaii|
|Complete Education and Training Requirements in Hawaii|
|Network with Potential Employers in Hawaii|
The bounty hunting profession in Hawaii is loosely regulated with almost no standards that bounty hunters must comply with. It should be noted, however, that although almost anyone may attempt to apprehend fugitives in Hawaii, only a small fraction are capable of earning a substantial income from this profession. This is in part due to the small bail bond industry in this island state; presently, there are only about eight bail bond companies in Hawaii.
The limited regulation of the bounty hunting profession has drawn attention from Hawaiian lawmakers recently. Senate Bill 2776 has proposed a data based approach for the state’s criminal justice system which would limit the jail time for parole violators and introduce pre-trial assessment of adult offenders. While the purpose of the bill is to reduce prison populations and state cost overruns, this bill has come under fire from Hawaii’s attorney general and its most famous bounty hunter, Duane Chapman, commonly known as Dog the Bounty Hunter. Opponents of the bill argue that the proposed measures would reduce public safety by allowing offenders on the streets after only a short question and answer period.
Step 1: Determine Eligibility in Hawaii
At the moment, Hawaii only requires that bounty hunters be at least 18 years of age. If legislative proposals regarding this profession are passed, however, then candidates can expect bail recovery agents to meet requirements similar to those found in other states including:
- Must be at least 21 years of age
- Must pass a state licensing exam
- Cannot have any felony or misdemeanor convictions involving moral turpitude
- Must submit fingerprints for a background check
- Must complete continuing education requirements
While the state does not mandate many restrictions on who may become a bounty hunter, the courts have imposed some important responsibilities. The most important of these is that involving “respondeat superior.” This legal principle transfers legal responsibility of the actions of an employee to the employer. In this case, any liability that a bounty hunter may create would be transferred to the employing bail company.
The bail companies in Hawaii are well aware of this legal responsibility and take great care to limit their liability. The most important method of limiting exposure to civil or criminal liability is rigorously screening hiring. Due to the small bounty hunting community in this state, potential bounty hunters must be capable of apprehending fugitives without incurring liability over a sustained period of time to prove to potential employers they are safe, law abiding bounty hunters.
Step 2: Complete Education and Training in Hawaii
While there are no specific requirements for bounty hunters in Hawaii to possess a college degree, many of the most successful fugitive recovery agents have some collegiate education. The most common degrees include associate’s or bachelor’s degrees in criminal justice, police studies, law, or psychology. Not only are college courses helpful in honing the critical thinking and problem solving skills vital to a bounty hunter’s livelihood, but they can be extremely helpful in interrogation, skip tracing and interacting with law enforcement or court officials. This type of education will also be helpful in passing any courses or exams that the state of Hawaii may implement in the near future.
Training to become a bounty hunter should also include the safe and skillful use of various weapons. The most important of these is of course, firearms. Hawaii requires that firearms are registered with the county police chief within five days of purchase. The permit applicant must provide an affidavit of mental competency and release medical records, as well as submit fingerprints for a background check. While a firearms training course is not required, many gun novices benefit from instruction in how to take care of and safely use a firearm.
Step 3: Network with Potential Employers in Hawaii
The most challenging part of becoming a bounty hunter in the state of Hawaii is finding employment. Among the companies that support bounty hunter jobs in Hawaii are:
- Hawaii Bail Bond Agent
- A-1 Bonding
- American Surety Company
- Horner Bail Bonds
To join a profession bounty hunter association, please visit the following sites:
- National Association of Fugitive Recovery Agents
- U.S. Professional Bail Investigators Association
- National Association of Bail Enforcement Agents