Bounty hunters need more regulation

Trention New Jersey: After 2 bounty hunters busted into the wrong apartment in search of fugitives, the call for the need of more regulation of bounty hunters was reignited. Even worse, the two reportedly burglarized the apartment and stole some jewelry.

While American popular culture and TV glamorizes vigilante justice, most people fail to realize the potential danger these private law enforcement agents pose to innocent law-abiding citizens.

In New Jersey as well as many other states, this industry is mostly unregulated, unlicensed and unsupervised. Reform is badly needed.

An innocent 37-year old Rutherford woman was falsely arrested and handcuffed by 2 Pennsylvania bounty hunters.

In Arizona in 1997, 2 bounty hunters shot and killed 2 innocent people whom they thought were fugitives.

Are these purely isolated incidents? Not hardly. Run-ins with overzealous and rouge bounty hunters and innocent citizens have been escalating nationwide, so the problem can no longer be ignored. The reason why bounty hunters are able to operate on the fringes of the law, is because of an 1872 US Supreme Court ruling that allows bounty hunters to track down fugitives by any means possible. This includes entering homes with a warrant and crossing state lines. Modern bounty hunters still operate in the 19th Century. At one time “Wanted Dead or Alive” literally meant what it says.

They should be required to licensed by the State Police, receive law enforcement training, and undergo a thorough criminal background check.

Bounty hunters, technically known as “Bail recovery agents” do however serve a valuable purpose. 90% of bail jumpers are captured and returned to custody by bounty hunters.

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