New law reins in wild bounty hunters

From high-speed chases, to rescuing children from homes with suspects held up inside, officials say bounty hunters can play a huge role in fighting crime.

But in some instances, some have gone too far with innocent Oklahomans.

Lawmakers say it’s time to reign in the loose cannons.

“There’s a situation where we had some bounty hunters that broke into a house and held a family hostage for several hours and then they found out they had the wrong address,” said Senator Ralph Shortey.

This is just one example of why Sen. Shortey authored a bill to create new regulations.

He said some hunters just don’t want to act professionally.

Sen. Shortey stated, “They’re the ones that want to be able to kick a door down without any reasonable suspicion that a person is in there. They want to be able to follow someone or they want to be able to wear cop like clothing so that they can fool people into thinking they are cops.”

Ryan with Pursuit Team bounty hunters has been hunting bail jumpers for more than a decade.

While all of his agents are licensed private investigators, he knows first hand how some bounty hunters have operated.

Ryan said, “We have people who do pull guns on people. People that do tase everybody they see and everything else which is real unprofessional. I’ve had my taser for six years and I’ve tased two people.”

The new law states all bounty hunters must have CLEET certification plus an additional training 40 hour training.

They must have background checks and also undergo psychological testing.

“It’s actually going to help the bondsmen and the bounty hunters as a whole. The professional ones will still be around and the non professional ones will weed themselves out,” said Ryan.

Some of the regulations are in effect right now, but agents will have until July 1 to complete the licensing portion.


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