CALDWELL — Two bounty hunters arrested last year for reportedly impersonating officers and making an illegal arrest were sentenced to one year of unsupervised probation, according to the Idaho online courts repository.
In June, David Manery and Kevin Ratigan claimed to be “bail enforcement officers” and told police they were duty-bound to arrest a 25-year-old man in their possession. Caldwell Police discovered the man the two had taken into custody did not have a warrant out for his arrest.
Manery told officers at the time he worked with Northwest Tactical. Ratigan said he worked with Northwest Tactical also known as “U.S. Bureau of Bail Enforcement,” according to the police report. There is no government agency called the U.S. Bureau of Bail Enforcement, however there are several private businesses associated with the bounty hunter trade with similar monikers, including the U.S. Bail Department and U.S. Bail Fugitive Enforcement.
Idaho currently doesn’t require bail enforcement agents to register with the state, get state certification or training. Bail enforcement officers are not sworn police officers, and there is no law that regulates the bounty hunting profession.
A bill that was introduced last week may change that.
The bill would require bail enforcement agents to wear badges stating they are a “bail enforcement agent,” be older than 18 and prior to making a known apprehension, notify the county sheriff. Bail enforcement agents would not be allowed to carry weapons, unless it complies with state and federal laws.
Manery and Ratigan were accused of holding the victim at gunpoint after chasing him to make an arrest.
Similar legislation failed in 2016, in part by efforts from Duane Chapman, better known as TV reality star “Dog the Bounty Hunter.” That year, the bill aimed to enforce attire that identified a bail enforcement agent, prohibit bounty hunters from introducing themselves as an employee of any federal, state or local government, and make the minimum age of a bounty hunter 21.
Both Manery and Ratigan were initially charged with misdemeanor impersonating an officer and illegal arrest.
On Feb. 13 both took plea deals, which changed the charge to misdemeanor unlawful assembly, which is defined as two or more people assembling to commit an unlawful act.
Both men are required to serve one year of unsupervised probation. However, Ratigan was given a suspended 27-day jail sentence. Manery, on the other hand, is allowed the chance of a withheld jurisdiction, meaning if he successfully completes probation, the misdemeanor charge can be taken off his record.