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The steps to becoming a bounty hunter in Oklahoma are as follows:
|Earn a Formal Education in Oklahoma|
|Qualify for Law Enforcement Academy Training through CLEET|
|Establish a Surety Bond or Get General Liability Insurance|
|Apply for and Complete Training through CLEET|
|Complete Continuing Education Requirements|
Under the Oklahoma Bail Enforcement and Licensing Act, new laws regulating the bounty hunting profession went into effect July 1st, 2014. Under the new law all bounty hunters in the State of Oklahoma, referred to as bail enforcers, are required to undergo training and become certified through the Oklahoma Council on Law Enforcement Education and Training (CLEET).
Under the new law, working as a bail enforcer in Oklahoma without a license is a felony punishable with a fine of up to $10,000 and a prison sentence of up to three years. An additional $5,000 fine and three years in prison would be applicable to those found in possession of a firearm or any other lethal or nonlethal weapon while in violation of the Act.
The Act allows licensed bounty hunters to carry firearms and other weapons if qualifications are met. Other provisions in the Act include requiring bounty hunters to wear clothing and badges that identify them as bail enforcement agents, but would prohibit them from wearing such clothing or badges if not actively pursuing a fugitive. Bounty hunters would also be prohibited from driving vehicles marked or otherwise equipped to look like law enforcement vehicles.
Step 1. Complete a Formal Education Program in Oklahoma
Because the new Oklahoma Bail Enforcement and Licensing Act requires bounty hunters in the State of Oklahoma to undergo training in bail enforcement and other areas of law enforcement, those interested in pursuing a career in bail enforcement may best prepare for this profession by first obtaining a formal education related to law enforcement and criminal justice.
An associate’s or bachelor’s program with a major in such diverse areas as criminal justice, forensic psychology, law enforcement, criminology, or corrections among others provides a solid foundation in the field of law enforcement that would provide bounty hunters with invaluable knowledge needed to effectively and legally act as bail enforcers.
Step 2. Qualify for Law Enforcement Academy Training through CLEET
Qualifying to participate in the Oklahoma Council on Law Enforcement Education and Training (CLEET) Basic Law Enforcement Academy requires the following:
- 21 years of age or older at the time of licensing
- US Citizen or legal resident
- Resident of Oklahoma, having lived here for at least six months before applying
- No felony convictions (or sentence completed at least 15 years prior to applying)
- If convicted of a violent felony, armed bail enforcer licensing will not be allowed regardless of how old the conviction is
- No convictions for crimes of moral turpitude
- No pending criminal charges
- No victim protection orders
- High school diploma or GED equivalent at minimum
If applying for an armed bail enforcer license, a psychological evaluation from a psychologist licensed in Oklahoma is also required. Applicants must schedule and pay for their own evaluations and submit the results to CLEET.
Step 3. Establish a Surety Bond or Get General Liability Insurance
Under Oklahoma Statute, all bail enforcers must have liability coverage or a surety bond in the amount of $10,000 in the event of bodily injury, personal injury or property damage that may occur in the course of pursuing a fugitive.
Insurance coverage should include endorsements for libel, slander, false arrest and invasion of privacy.
The Oklahoma Bondsman Association maintains a current list of Approved Surety Companies in Oklahoma.
Step 4. Apply for and Complete Training through CLEET
The Oklahoma Bail Enforcement and Licensing Act requires bounty hunters to be trained and certified through the Oklahoma Council on Law Enforcement Education and Training (CLEET).
The Oklahoma Bail Enforcer Application serves as the application for training, as well as the bail enforcer license application.
Qualifying to participate in the training program requires first passing the CLEET Reading, Writing and Comprehension Test and physical ability tests.
The specific course of training and education through CLEET includes:
- Law enforcement driver training
- Criminal and traffic law
- Defensive tactics
- First aid
- Human relations
As detailed in the application, CLEET will issue a bail enforcer license when:
- All required forms are received
- Fingerprint and background check has cleared
- Training has been completed and documented
- Payment is received ($300 if applying for unarmed status, $400 if applying for armed status)
Step 5. Complete Continuing Education Requirements
The Oklahoma Council on Law Enforcement, Education and Training (CLEET) requires continuing education for all bail enforcers in the State of Oklahoma in order for them to maintain their certification status.
Currently, every bail enforcer in the state must complete a minimum of 25 hours of law enforcement training, which includes at least 2 hours of mental health training every year.