February 11, 2019
Life and Death
2018 saw an increase in line of duty deaths for law enforcement. According to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund there were 144 line of duty deaths, and increase from 129 in 2017. Of those deaths 52 officers were murdered by suspects with firearms, where 2017 saw 46. This increase has also included a sharp rise in ambush attacks against officers that were merely targets because of their profession
The underlying question is does this also affect the bail enforcement industry. The short answer is yes. Although law enforcement does a completely different job than bail enforcement there are enough similarities in the public eye that causes bad people to put us all together. Many detectives or plain clothes cops will conduct surveillance’s, undercover operations, and interviews as do the industry professionals of the bail industry. A layman from the street may not be able to identify the difference between a bail bondsman and a police officer and if they mean to attack a cop they may misidentify you and take action.
Cause and Effect
The primary cause with this increase in law enforcement attacks is a percentage of the population that does not approve of law enforcement activities. This belief system added to a violent criminal with behavior that is against the societal norms results in vicious attacks.
Today we are seeing many bail enforcement agent wearing clothing, badges, and driving vehicles that look very similar to law enforcement. Many agents have explained their choice by stating they do this in order to confuse the bad guys upon their initial approach so the agents may get the upper hand more rapidly. Unfortunately this type of thinking can be very dangerous to those agents and create other, larger problems. When bail recovery agents are involved in a situation where firearms are involved it makes news, sometimes on a national platform. This type of news is often used against the industry in the hard pushing bail reform movement. The effects of negative news can last longer than expected. Many of the opponents of professional bail will conduct searches on the internet and utilize news stories from days, months, and even years ago as long as it fits their narrative.
Bail enforcement agents must remember that they are not executing warrants, nor are they enforcing the laws. The simple matter of fact job description is contract enforcement (repossession). The only authority that a bail enforcement agent has is through a signed contract with the bail bondsman that did the original bond. Without that contract there is no ability to arrest someone that has a warrant.
Bail enforcement agents must be cognizant of their limitations and to not succumb to the belief that they have special powers or abilities. To avoid the general public from making mistakes and misidentifying them they need to first ensure they do not appear to be law enforcement. By attempting to act or look like law enforcement, bail enforcement agents are adding a danger level that is not inherently there. A criminal with a grudge or hatred towards law enforcement may not harbor the same resentment towards staff from the bail industry.
In order to operate safely, bail enforcement agents must remain in their own profession and not attempt to blur the lines. By remaining clearly marked and identifiable a potential police shooter may not attack or open fire.
Bail enforcement is a chosen profession and the agents operating in should be proud to show the public they are different. Security officers are sometimes referred to as para-law enforcement but they are a unique profession. Their clothing, badges, and vehicles are clearly marked so the public can see they are security and not the police. The bail industry needs to take a chapter from that industry.
The bail industry is an inherently dangerous one as many of the defendants that are being sought are highly violent and cunning. There is no benefit to adding another level of danger to an already dangerous job.