Arizona Bondsman Demands Tougher Standards for Recovery Agents

The requirements for becoming a bail recovery agent in the state of Arizona remain very lax even more than a decade after a group of bounty hunters broke into a Phoenix home and shot an innocent couple to death in a rush to judgment call of mistaken identity.

Although bail recovery agents can no longer blast their way into homes without permission, their job training is still sub-standard according to John Burns, president of the Arizona Bail Bondsmen Association.

In his own words:

“You don’t need weapons training; no education. You basically can go down, get your registration, head to the local gun store, buy a gun, handcuffs and walk out and now you are a bail recovery bounty hunter.

Burns has been working tirelessly to toughen the requirements for recovery agents in his home state, but his battle is thorny and difficult. In the last three years, he has focused his energies on several bills that would require bail recovery agents to be at least 21 years of age, reside in Arizona for at least one year and possess a high school diploma or G.E.D. along with 40 hours of pre-license training, which includes instructions on weapons safety and fugitive apprehension techniques.

Burns believes the reason behind the laxity in training lies in a reactive rather that proactive approach when it comes to the issue of public safety. The Arizona department of Insurance needs to focus on prevention rather than dealing with sometimes dangerous situations after they occur.


Most of the other states require both pre-education and continuing education to maintain the highest possible standards. Currently, in Arizona the only stipulations are that registrants must be at least 18 years old and free of any criminal record and/or crime involving carrying or the possession of a deadly weapon pr dangerous instrument. They also have to submit to a fingerprint check, but these sanctions aren’t enough.

Education and intensive training are the keys to improving the standard for bail recovery agents. Unfortunately, none of the bills backed by Burns have passed through the legislature and he blames the Arizona Department of Insurance.

His battle cry remains: “People are put in harm’s way when recovery agents are not trained correctly to do their jobs. And, I come back again and say, Arizona Department of Insurance, either stand up and do your job or get out of the way.”

The powers-that-be behind Arizona’s Department of Insurance are silent on this important issue.

The question lingers: For how long?

Posted by M Dee Dubroff, on February 20, 2013 at 9:00 AM