Where do bounty hunters and martial arts intersect?

Many people who write to me asking how they should get started in the bail enforcement industry often include their martial arts background as a guide to the question at hand. I often laugh at this, but a rental email brought up the question, “How will my martial arts background be applied to bounty hunting?”

Bounty hunters, I prefer bail enforcement officers or bail investigators, by definition face dangerous situations every day they go to work. We often put our heads in the lion’s mouth whenever we try to arrest a defendant on secured bail by serving a civil bond forfeiture order accompanied by a criminal failure to appear. It’s easy to forget that what we do on a daily basis, often alone and poorly armed, is a MAJOR EVENT that requires highly trained SWAT teams in most law enforcement departments!

In my experience, which is longer and more varied than most in the bail recovery business, 1 out of every 100 people I have taken to jail by a bail bondsman will react violently to the attention, but the violence ranges widely from simply resisting someone trying to shoot me with some kind of firearm. Fortunately, 97% of these violent encounters do not require any use of force beyond the simple application of some “pain compliance” methods. Fortunately, I’ve only had to use an Air-Taser once and point my firearm at a defendant or co-actor once.

What happens in these violent situations is that we must immediately apply the use of force continuum, which clearly states that bail agents will only use that force that is reasonable and lawful, given the known facts and circumstances in the timing of the event to effectively bring an incident under control. The “reasonableness” of the use of force must be judged from the perspective of a reasonable investigator on the scene at the time of the incident. A bail enforcement officer, who is authorized by a bail bond, who makes or attempts to make an arrest shall not withdraw or desist from his efforts because of resistance or threat of resistance from the arrested person; Nor shall such investigator be deemed to be an aggressor or forfeit his right to self-defense by using reasonable force to affect arrest or prevent escape or to overcome resistance.

I cannot reasonably shoot a defendant for resisting the application of handcuffs if he does not pose an imminent threat to my own life. This is where pain compliance techniques that can be learned through many martial arts styles or a system known as CDT® (Compliance, Direction and Take-down) are most appropriately applied. Simply put, these techniques consist of low-level stuns, trigger points, escorts, and compliance techniques that can be used to control another person without causing permanent damage; Hostility management, anger diffusion and escape should also be applied where applicable.

Standing Ju Jitsu, Aikido and Judo are exceptional martial arts in their real world application in the typical scenarios found in most bail enforcement actions. They are my choice of techniques to use, but it can take a lifetime to master the nuances and intricacies of each art; this may not be practical for the new or aspiring fugitive recovery investigator. Perhaps the next best option for most would be CDT®, which is a personal protection system and not a martial art. Its creators claim that it can be learned quickly and effectively, regardless of your gender or size. Most importantly, CDT® techniques can be learned and mastered through a properly structured training course in a limited amount of time and have been shown to work effectively against any gender and body size. I hear good things about it from my friends in law enforcement, but when the creators make dubious claims like “the world’s most effective non-lethal force system,” I have to stop and pause.

Either way, when a bail bondsman needs to use less-than-lethal force using bare-handed tactics, that person must be able to do so quickly, skillfully, and with reduced risk and liability to all concerned. . The longer the investigator has to engage with a defendant or those seeking to avoid arrest, the greater the risk of injury or even death. Additionally, depending on the defendant’s actions or the situation, the BEA may need to increase or decrease the amount of force used. The techniques discussed allow the escalation and de-escalation of legal force without causing serious or fatal injury and that is a huge plus in my book when it comes to reducing the liability that often comes with going “hands on” with anyone.

This is the nexus between martial arts, their real-world application as combat arts, and the modern bounty hunter.

Leave a Reply