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Bail Bondsmen Often Face Danger on the Job

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RALEIGH — Most people bailed out of jail by bondsmen return to court withoutincident. But, the few that put up a fight can present a very real dangerto the men and women hired to bring fugitives back to justice.

Most bail bondsmen describe themselves as an extension of the jail, a privateextension of the jail. They provide a service that enables people to getout on bail who otherwise might not be able to. Most bail bondsmen willalso admit their business is about making money and getting their investment back, sometimes hundreds of thousands of dollars at a time, andthat's incentive enough to get their man.

Bail bondsmen spend a lot of the time on the phone, but when the personbailed out refuses to go back to court, it takes more than a phone call.

"Any business that requires you to take the freedom away from another manis going to be a dangerous business," said Carlyle Poindexter, bailbondsman.

Bail bondsmen have the legal right to use reasonable force to bring theirclient in.

"They don't want to go back to jail, it creates a dangerous environment,"said Poindexter.

Bail enforcement agent Kenneth Venghaus, describes the chase as exciting,but dangerous.

It's a game that bail agents don't stop playing until they get here.

If the bondsman does not get his client back to court, he has to liquidatethe bond, pay cash out of his pocket. That money goes to the county'sschool district. Wake County schools get hundreds of thousands of dollarsfrom bail bondsmen every year.

North Carolina is one of only five states that requires bail bondsmen tobe strictly regulated. They all have to be licensed through the Departmentof Insurance. Requirements are strict, including 20 hours of pre-licensingeducation plus 10 additional hours of education each year. Their criminalbackgrounds need to be spotless.