Photo Illustration by Luis G. Rendon/The Daily Beast/Everett Collection
From a brash Clint Eastwood in the classic spaghetti Western For A Few Dollars More to a conscientious Robert De Niro in Midnight Run, pop culture depicts the bounty hunter as a kickass, gun-toting white man. Sometimes it’s portrayed by former convicts like reality TV’s Dog the Bounty Hunter and Giovanni Ribisi’s con man who invades a family in the bail bond business in the Amazon’s series Sneaky Pete. Nevertheless, it’s usually a white guy. How realistic is this picture? Let’s examine it with the help of a real bounty hunter.
First, the job title. While “bounty hunter” is universally understood since the days of the Wild West, professionals dislike it. “We never use the term bounty hunter because it is not the legal name we can use in Ohio,” said Dana Acy, bail bonds agent and owner of an eponymous bail bonds agency in Cleveland.
Acy prefers “fugitive recovery agent.” Alternative job titles include bail enforcement agent, fugitive apprehension agent, and bail enforcer, which is also the title of Bob Burton’s seminal book that the U.S. Department of Justice uses as a training manual.