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Fugitive recovery is not for the unskilled or faint of heart. To become a successful bounty hunter (often referred to as a bail recovery agent or fugitive recovery agent), individuals must be trained in how to effectively apprehend a fugitive while operating within the law. In fact, formal training through a specialized fugitive recovery agent training provider is often a requirement for licensure at the state level. Formal training can also help prepare bounty hunters to pass the comprehensive examination often required in states that maintain strict licensing requirements.
Experienced bounty hunters agree that some form of training is important to understanding key aspects of the job: self-defense, ensuring the safety of the fugitive and the public, and abiding by all laws that govern the profession.
Legal and Procedural Training
Because each state has its own set of rules and legal limitations specific to bounty hunting, procedural and legal training may be geared to the laws of a particular state. For example, specialized training providers may cover penal codes and criminal extradition laws specific to the state in which their training institution is located.
Bounty hunters are expected to understand procedural protocols related to:
- The proper use of force
- Entry and seizure
- The use of weapons and firearms
- Transporting fugitives
- The legal process
- The bail bond process
Additionally, bounty hunters are expected to understand civil and criminal law as it pertains to fugitive recovery, which may include:
- State laws and statutes
- Constitutional law
- Detainee civil rights
- Law related to surveillance and accessing public records
- Procedure related to surrendering defendants to law enforcement
Bounty Hunter Skills Training
Most aspects of skills training is applicable to all bounty hunters, regardless of the state in which they are licensed. This can include everything from handcuffing techniques and tactical entry, to self-defense and firearms training.
Firearms and Non-Lethal Weapons Training – In states that allow bounty hunters to carry firearms or other weapons, additional training and certification should be expected. This often involves formal firearms training and certification through the Criminal Justice Training Commission (CJTC). Additional training is often required specific to the use of such non-lethal weapons as tasters, batons and pepper spray.
Self Defense Training – The profession can be very physically demanding, as it often involves foot pursuits and the apprehension of fugitives who would do almost anything to avoid jail time. As such, bounty hunters sometimes seek additional training in self-defense, through elective classes in martial arts or kickboxing.
Field Training – On-the-job training for bounty hunters often involves an apprenticeship with a seasoned bail bondsman or bounty hunter. Some states require newly licensed bounty hunters to work under a supervising bounty hunter during their initial licensure period. This is the real-world component of a bounty hunter’s training in which they come face to face with all the challenges and excitement the career has to offer. This will involve everything from chasing down leads and performing surveillance, to capturing and arresting criminal fugitives.
Ongoing Training – Even bounty hunters that operate in states where continuing education is not mandatory often pursue educational courses and seminars through such professional associations as the National Association of Fugitive Recovery Agents and the National Association of Bail Enforcement Agents.