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Legislation #: 021454 Introduction Date: 12/5/2002
Type: Ordinance Effective Date: 4/13/2003
Sponsor: COUNCILMEMBER BROOKS
Title: Enacting a new Chapter 67, Code of Ordinances, entitled Surety recovery agents to regulate the business of s urety recovery agents, commonly known as bounty hunters; and amending Section 50-43, Code of Ordinances, entitled impersonation to prohibit unauthorized persons from representing themselves to be surety recovery agents.

Legislation History
DateMinutesDescription
12/5/2002

Prepare to Introduce

12/5/2002

Referred Legislative, Rules and Ethics Committee

12/11/2002

Hold On Agenda

2/19/2003

Hold On Agenda

3/19/2003

Hold On Agenda

4/2/2003

Advance and Do Pass as a Committee Substitute

4/3/2003

Amended

4/3/2003

Passed as Substituted and Amended


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COMMITTEE SUBSTITUTE FOR ORDINANCE 021454, AS AMENDED

 

Enacting a new Chapter 67, Code of Ordinances, entitled Surety recovery agents to regulate the business of surety recovery agents, commonly known as bounty hunters; and amending Section 50-43, Code of Ordinances, entitled False impersonation to prohibit unauthorized persons from representing themselves to be surety recovery agents.

 

WHEREAS, the Missouri Constitution authorizes charter cities to enact laws that could be enacted by the Missouri General Assembly when not in conflict with local charters or state law; and

 

WHEREAS, there are no comprehensive laws of statewide application regulating the qualifications or business practices of surety recovery agents; and

 

WHEREAS, the risk of harm to the public is great when persons have access to private homes through the contractual arrangements of bail; and

 

WHEREAS, the risk of harm to the public is great when persons may resort to force and violence to enforce the contractual arrangements of bail; and

 

WHEREAS, surety recovery agents serve a legitimate purpose of enforcing the promise of appearance made by persons accused of crime or ordinance violation when those persons fail to appear for court appearances; and

 

WHEREAS, the licensing of surety recovery agents will serve as a means to insert greater professionalism and responsibility in the business of surety recovery agents, while still recognizing the role of surety recovery agents in the justice system; NOW, THEREFORE,

 

BE IT ORDAINED BY THE COUNCIL OF KANSAS CITY:

 

Section 1. Enactment of surety recovery agents code. That a new Chapter 67, Code of Ordinances, entitled Surety recovery agents is enacted to read as follows:

 

Chapter 67. Surety Recovery Agents

 

Sec. 67-1. Title.

 

This chapter shall be known as the surety recovery agents code.

 

Sec. 67-2. Purpose.

 

The purpose of the surety recovery agent code is to promote, preserve and protect the public health, safety and welfare of people and their property by regulating the business and practice of fugitive recovery.

 

Sec. 67-3. Findings.

 

(a) Surety recovery agents, also often known as bounty hunters, runners, bail enforcement officers, or bail recovery agents, provide law enforcement officers and the courts with valuable assistance in recovering fugitives from justice;

 

(b) The availability of bail as an alternative to the pretrial detention or unsecured release of defendants is important to the effective functioning of the justice system;

 


(c) The safe and timely return to custody of fugitives who violate bail contracts is an important matter of public safety, as is the return of any other fugitive from justice;

 

(d) Surety recovery agents are not licensed by the State of Missouri; and

 

(e) The public safety requires the employment of qualified, well-trained surety recovery agents.

 

Sec. 67-4. Definitions.

 

(a) Bail bond agent means any person licensed by the State of Missouri as a bail bond agent or general bail bond agent.

 

(b) Director means the director of neighborhood and community services, or a person or persons to whom the director has delegated responsibility for enforcement of this code.

 

(c) Local law enforcement authorities means the Kansas City, Missouri, Police Department, or the county sheriff of the county in which an apprehension within the city will occur, or in which a residence to be entered is located.

 

(d) Principal means a person who has been charged with a crime or ordinance violation and uses a commercial bail bond agent to obtain release from custody.

 

(e) Provisional surety recovery agent is a person who has completed all requirements to obtain a license as a surety recovery agent, except for training or an authorized substitute for training.

 

(f) Surety recovery agent means a person not performing the duties of a sworn peace officer who tracks down, captures and surrenders to the custody of a court a fugitive who has violated a bail bond agreement.

 

Sec. 67-5. License required.

 

(a) Required. After September 30, 2003, no surety recovery agent shall apprehend any fugitive without holding a license issued under this code.

 

(b) Non-resident surety recovery agent. After September 30, 2003, a surety recovery agent operating from an office not located in the city, who is not licensed by the city as a surety recovery agent must be associated with, and accompanied by, a licensed surety recovery agent before apprehending any person within the city.

 

Sec. 67-6. Term of license.

 

(a) Surety recovery agent. A surety recovery agent license shall be issued or renewed for a term of one year.

 

(b) Provisional surety recovery agent. A provisional surety recovery agent license shall be issued for a term of nine months.

 

Sec. 67-7. No free-lancing.

 

No person may engage in the business of apprehending principals without being hired by a bail bond agent as an employee, contractor, or other agent.

Sec. 67-8. Application.

 

(a) Required. Any person desiring to engage in the business of a surety recovery agent shall apply to the director for a license on forms prepared and furnished by the director. The applicant will submit the notarized application under oath or affirmation.

 

(b) Application form. The application will include the following information:

 

(1) Full name.

 

(2) Any alias name.

 

(3) Date of birth and age.

 

(4) Social Security number.

 

(5) Drivers license number.

 

(6) Residence during the previous five years.

 

(7) Occupation during the previous five years.

 

(8) Business address during the previous five years.

 

(9) Full set of fingerprints.

 

(10) Photograph.

 

(11) Explanation of all convictions.

 

(12) Explanation of all charges for which the applicant received a suspended imposition of sentence.

 

(13) Explanation of all civil actions involving the applicant arising from work as a surety recovery agent.

 

(14) Name and address of all bail bond agents for whom the applicant will perform surety recovery agent services.

 

(15) Additional material required by the director to assure compliance with this code.

 

(c) Intent to hire. The applicant will submit with the application an intent to hire form executed by the bail bond agent for whom the applicant will be associated.

 

Sec. 67-9. Issuance of license.

 

(a) License. Upon investigation and verification of the material required for licensing, and a determination that all requirements of this code are met, the director shall issue to the applicant a surety recovery agent license.

 

(b) Identification card.

 

(1) The director will issue an identification card in a form that will include at least the following information:

 

a. Name of the licensee.

 

b. Current photograph of the license.

 

c. License number.

 

d. Date of issuance of the license.

 

e. Expiration date of the license.

 

f. The title Surety Recovery Agent.

 

g. Any additional information the director deems necessary to inform the public of the status of the licensee.

 

(2) Not to imply city employment. The identification card will not imply the licensee acts for the city.

 

Sec. 67-10. Minimum age.

 

A surety recovery agent must be at least 21 years of age.

 

Sec. 67-11. Criminal Record.

 

(a) Disqualifying offense. Within this code, disqualifying offenses mean:

 

(1) Any act involving illegally using, carrying, or possessing a dangerous weapon.

 

(2) Any act of personal violence or force on any person or property.

 

(3) Any threat to commit an act of personal violence or force on any person or property.

 

(4) Any act constituting dishonesty or fraud.

 

(5) Impersonating a peace officer.

 

(6) Any violation of a regulation of surety recovery agents.

 

(7) Any violation of this code.

 

(b) Convictions. No person shall be licensed as a surety recovery agent who has been found guilty, either after a trial or as a result of a plea of guilty or nolo contendere, of a disqualifying offense or of any other act in another jurisdiction that would be a disqualifying offense if committed in Missouri unless having been free from the jurisdiction of the city, state or of the United States for not less than five years prior to the time of applying for a surety recovery agent license.

 

(c) Suspended imposition of sentence. No person shall be licensed as a surety recovery agent who has entered a plea of guilty or nolo contendere, but for which imposition of sentence has been suspended, of a disqualifying offense or of any other act in another jurisdiction that would be a disqualifying offense if committed in Missouri unless having been free from the jurisdiction of the city, state or of the United States for not less than five years prior to the time of applying for a surety recovery agent license.

 

(d) Waiver of disqualifying offense. The director may determine that an otherwise disqualifying offense should not be interposed as a disqualification to licensing based upon the date of the conviction, the conduct of the applicant since the date of the conviction, and other evidence as to the applicant's character. The director may require the applicant to submit information necessary to determine whether the applicants previous convictions should preclude licensing as a surety recovery agent.

 

Sec. 67-12. Criminal records check.

 

(a) Federal, Missouri and Kansas records checks. An applicant will submit written consents to the director for federal, Missouri and Kansas state criminal history records checks.

 

(b) Additional records checks. An applicant living outside of Missouri or Kansas within the five years preceding the application, will also submit to a criminal records check in the state or states in which the applicant lived and the state or states in which the applicants main business was located, and in which the applicant worked during that time.

 

(c) Cost paid by applicant. The applicant will be responsible for the costs imposed by the federal or state governments of records checks. The application fee will also include an amount representing the directors costs to administer this requirement.

 

Sec. 67-13. Training.

 

(a) Training course required. A surety recovery agent must satisfactorily complete a basic course of training for bail enforcement agents that is approved by the director. When asked to approve a course of training the director will consider the following factors:

 

(1) Sponsor of the training program, such as a recognized professional organization, an accredited vocational school, school district, or community college or other accredited institution of higher learning.

 

(2) Credentials of faculty members.

 

(3) Examination requirements.

 

(4) In the case of proposed distance learning programs, the steps taken by the institution to insure completed work and examinations are the applicant / students own work.

 

(b) Minimum curriculum. The basic course of training must consist of at least 20 hours of training which includes, at a minimum, instruction in the following:

 

(1) The following areas of the law:

 

a. Constitutional law;

 

b. Procedures for arresting defendants and surrendering defendants into custody;

 

c. Civil liability;

d. The civil rights of persons who are detained in custody;

 

e. The use of force; and

 

(2) Procedures for field operations, including, without limitation:

 

a. Safety and survival techniques;

 

b. Searching buildings;

 

c. Handling persons who are mentally ill or under the influence of alcohol or a controlled substance; and

 

d. The care and custody of prisoners;

 

(3) The skills required of bail enforcement agents, including, without limitation:

 

a. Writing reports, completing forms and procedures for exoneration;

 

b. Methods of arrest;

 

c. Nonlethal weapons;

 

d. The retention of weapons;

 

e. Qualifications for the use of firearms;

 

f. Defensive tactics;

 

g. Use of handcuffs;

 

h. Use of mace; and

 

i. Demeanor in the courtroom.

 

(4) Principles of investigation, including, without limitation:

 

a. The basic principles of locating defendants who have not complied with the terms and conditions established by a court for their release from custody or the terms and conditions of a contract entered into with a surety; and

 

b. Ethics; and

 

(5) First aid:

 

a. First aid used in emergencies; and

 

b. Cardiopulmonary resuscitation.

 

The director may accept certification from the American Red Cross or other recognized program of first aid training, and certification from the American Red Cross, American Heart Association, or other recognized program of cardiopulmonary resuscitation training.

 

(c) Length of course of study. All training required by this code must be started and completed within a period of six months, except that first aid and cardiopulmonary resuscitation training may be completed within the prior two years of the date of application.

 

(d) Exception to training requirement law enforcement officers. A person who has earned a degree from an accredited institution of higher learning in criminal justice or similar curriculum, or completed a course of training required by a municipal, state or federal law enforcement agency or a branch of the armed forces to carry out the duties of a peace officer is not required to complete the course outlined by this section if:

 

(1) the degree or course was completed within five years prior to the date of application, or

 

(2) the degree or course was completed more than five years prior to the date of application but the applicant has been working as a law enforcement officer for at least two of the previous five years prior to the date of application.

 

(e) Delay for training requirement current surety recovery agents. A person who has worked as a surety recovery agent for at least two years prior to July 1, 2003, and has accomplished no less than 25 lawful recoveries, as certified by one or more bail bond agents for whom the surety recovery agent worked, must complete the training required by this code before July 1, 2005. For purposes of this requirement, a bail bond agent licensed by a state other than Missouri may certify to the applicants prior recoveries.

 

(f) Cost paid by applicant. The applicant will be responsible for the cost of the training.

 

Sec. 67-14. Liability insurance.

 

(a) Insurance required. All surety recovery agents must maintain a policy of liability insurance in an amount not less than $300,000.00 protecting persons and property from harm, written by a company approved by the director of finance.

 

(b) Certificate of insurance. All surety recovery agents must submit to the director a certificate of insurance annually showing the required coverage.

 

(c) Notification of cancellation. The insurance required by this code will provide for notification to the director no less than 10 days prior to the cancellation of the insurance policy or reduction in coverage below $300,000.00.

 

(d) Failure to maintain insurance. The failure to maintain the required insurance invalidates the authority granted by a surety recovery agent license or a provisional surety recovery agent license.

 

(e) Deductibles. Deductibles are not permitted unless the licensee submits a bond to the director for the purpose of serving as a source of recovery for persons who receive judgments against a licensee for amounts less than that covered by insurance. The bond must be in a form and provided by a company acceptable to the director, based upon the likelihood that sufficient assets support the bond.

 

Sec. 67-15. Continuing education.

 

(a) Annual requirement. Every surety recovery agent must certify to the director annually, except the first year a surety recovery agent is licensed, on a form provided by the director that the agent has attended no less than six hours of approved continuing education training in the areas designated in section 67-13(b)(1)-(4) of this code.

 

(b) Approved programs. When asked to approve a program of continuing education the director will consider the following factors:

 

(1) Sponsor of the training program, such as an accredited vocational school, school district, or community college or other accredited institution of higher learning.

 

(2) Credentials of program presenters.

 

(3) Review of the materials to be distributed at the program for consistency with the subject matter requirements of this code.

 

(c) Filing date. Certifications of attendance at continuing education programs will be submitted to the director before February 1 to cover the prior calendar year.

 

(d) Invalidity of license. Failure to complete the required continuing education or failure to submit a certificate of attendance by February 1 of each year in which a certificate is required will render the surety recovery agent license invalid.

 

Sec. 67-16. Provisional surety recovery agent.

 

(a) Provisional surety recovery agents authorized. An applicant for a surety recovery agent license may obtain a provisional surety recovery agent license by meeting all requirements for licensing as a surety recovery agent except for training required by this code.

 

(b) Certification by bail agent. If a person seeks a provisional surety recovery agent license, the bail agent or agents for whom the provisional licensee will work must submit a statement acknowledging the persons employment.

 

(c) Required surety recovery agent association. A provisional surety recovery agent may not work independent of a licensed surety recovery agent.

 

(d) Limited license. A provisional surety recovery agent license is limited to a period of nine months.

 

(e) No renewal. A person may not renew or receive a second provisional surety recovery agent license.

 

Sec. 67-17. Denial of license.

 

The director shall deny a license to any applicant who fails to submit the required information showing the applicant qualifies for a license as a surety recovery agent or provisional recovery agent, or submits false or misleading information.

 

Sec. 67-18. Suspension, revocation or refusal to renew license.

 

Authority to suspend, revoke or not renew a license. The director will suspend, revoke or refuse to renew any license issued under this code for any of the following causes:

(a) Any cause for which issuance of the license could have been refused had it then existed and been known to the director.

 

(b) Material misstatement, misrepresentation, or fraud in obtaining the license.

 

(c) Failure to maintain required insurance.

 

(d) Failure to engage in required continuing education.

 

(e) Failure to report the required continuing education.

 

(f) Violation of any provision of this code.

 

Sec. 67-19. Procedure for denial, suspension, revocation or refusal to renew a license.

 

(a) Notice to applicant or licensee. Prior to denial of an original or renewal license application, or suspension or revocation of an existing license, the director will notify the applicant or licensee in writing of the proposed action.

 

(b) Contents of notice. The notice will include at least the following items:

 

(1) Nature of the proposed adverse action.

 

(2) Basis for believing adverse action should be taken by the director.

 

(3) Effective date of the proposed action absent a request for a hearing.

 

(4) Right to request a hearing before the director.

 

(5) Date by which the director must receive a request for a hearing.

 

(c) Actions by the director.

 

(1) Suspension. The director may suspend a license when in the directors opinion the actions complained of do not represent a pattern or practice of violations of rules or regulations federal, state or local applicable to surety recovery agents, and it is believed suspension will result in corrected behavior by the licensee.

 

(2) Revocation. The director may revoke a license when in the directors opinion the actions complained of represent a pattern or practice of violations of rules or regulations federal, state or local applicable to surety recovery agents, and it is believed suspension will not result in corrected behavior by the licensee, or that the misbehavior is too serious to permit a temporary suspension of the licensees authority to act as a surety recovery agent.

 

(d) Request for hearing. An applicant or licensee may request a hearing by submitting a written request to the director within 10 days of the date of the notice of the proposed action. A request for a hearing shall be in such form and shall contain such information as the director may by regulation require. An hearing application fee of $50.00 must accompany the written application. Any request received by the director after the 10 day period is untimely. Failure of a person entitled to a hearing under this code shall constitute a waiver of the persons right to an administrative hearing and adjudication of the persons complaint, and such person shall be estopped to deny the validity of any order or action of the director which could have been timely appealed to the director.

 

(e) Conduct of hearing. If the applicant or licensee requests a hearing before the director, the following procedure will be followed:

 

(1) The hearing will be held no less than seven days from the date of receipt of the request for a hearing.

 

(2) The director is authorized to administer oaths to those testifying.

 

(3) The applicant or licensee may question witnesses and present evidence.

 

(4) The hearing will be transcribed. The transcript may be obtained from the court reporter at the cost of the requesting party.

 

(5) The director will issue written findings of fact and conclusions of law.

 

(f) Appeals. Adverse decisions of the director may be appealed pursuant to the provisions of the Missouri Administrative Procedure and Review Act.

 

(g) New application. A person whose license was revoked may reapply for a license no sooner than two years following the directors action. An application shall be treated as a new application.

 

(h) Renewal pending suspension or revocation. If a license expires while the director is considering the suspension or revocation of a license, the license will be renewed, if all other requirements are met, subject to the continuation of the suspension or revocation process. The expiration of a license does not bar the investigation of any incident occurring during a period in which the persons was licensed.

 

(i) Decision of the director after a hearing. Following a hearing on a recommended suspension or revocation, the director may take any action appropriate including suspension, even if revocation was originally recommended, or revocation, even if suspension was originally recommended. The director may take no action and dismiss the recommendation.

 

Sec. 67-20. Notification of law enforcement officials.

 

(a) Apprehension. A surety recovery agent who intends to apprehend any person in the city shall, before attempting such apprehension, inform local law enforcement authorities. The surety recovery agent shall possess, and upon request present to the local law enforcement authorities a certified copy of the bond, the surety recovery agents City issued identification card, and all other appropriate paperwork identifying the principal. A surety recovery agent shall also request from local law enforcement authorities, or from the Court Administrators Office of the Municipal Division of the Jackson County Circuit Court if not provided by the local law enforcement authorities, a confirmation that a warrant for the apprehension of that person is still outstanding.

 

(b) Entry into a residence. A surety recovery agent shall inform the local law enforcement authorities that the agent is planning to enter a residence. Such agent shall have a certified copy of the bond, the surety recovery agents City issued identification card, and all appropriate paperwork to identify the principal.

 

Sec. 67-21. Entry into residences.

(a) Unannounced entry. A surety recovery agent may not enter a residence to recover a principal without first demanding admittance and explaining the purpose for which admittance is desired.

 

(b) Residence to be secured before leaving the scene. A surety recovery agent forcibly entering a residence must insure the residence is secured before leaving the scene of the apprehension.

 

Sec. 67-22. Identification card.

 

(a) Presentation of identification. A surety recovery agent will present the city-issued identification card to any:

 

(1) Law enforcement officer upon request.

 

(2) Person from whom entry to a residence is requested.

 

(3) Person to be apprehended by the surety recovery agent. If in the reasonable judgment of the surety recovery agent the principal poses a threat to the surety recovery agents safety, or the safety of another, identification of the surety recovery agent may be accomplished upon apprehension.

 

(b) Modification of identification card prohibited. No person shall modify or in any way change a surety recovery agent identification card issued by the city.

 

(c) Unlawful use of identification card. No person to whom an identification card is issued by the director shall permit use of the card by any other person. No person who was not issued an identification card by the director shall use a surety recovery agent identification card for any purpose.

 

Sec. 67-23. Use of badges or insignia.

 

No security recovery agent shall wear, carry, or display any uniform, badge, shield, or other insignia or emblems that purport to indicate that such person is an employee, officer, or agent of any state, any political subdivision of any state, or the United States.

 

Sec. 67-24. Fees.

 

(a) The following fees will be assessed by the director:

 

(1) Surety recovery agent application fee $60, plus fees for additional background checks to other jurisdictions as determined by the director

 

(2) Provisional surety recovery agent application fee, $35, plus fees for additional background checks to other jurisdictions as determined by the director

 

(3) License renewal fee $50 plus fees for additional background checks to other jurisdictions as determined by the director

 

(4) Appeal to the director $50

 

(5) Two-year photo identification card $50

 

(6) Replacement photo identification card fee $10, within 30 days of issuance; after 30 days, applicant must reapply and pay the fees noted above.

 

(b) Annual fee increases. The director is authorized to increase fees established by this code annually, effective on May 1, by a percentage amount not to exceed the consumer price index (all items / all urban consumers / Kansas City, Missouri - Kansas) published by the United States Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics.

 

Sec. 67-25. Penalties.

 

Violation of any provision of this code shall be punishable by a fine of not less than $250 or more than $500, or imprisonment of not more than 180 days, or both such fine and imprisonment.

 

Section 2. Amendment of Section 50-43 - False impersonation. That Section 50-43, Code of Ordinances, entitled False impersonation is amended to read as follows:

 

Sec. 50-43. False impersonation.

 

A person commits the ordinance violation of false impersonation if the person:

 

(a) Falsely represents himself or herself to be a public servant with the purpose to induce another to submit to his or her pretended official authority or to rely upon his or her pretended official acts, and:

 

(1) Performs an act in that pretended capacity; or

 

(2) Causes another to act in reliance upon his or her pretended official authority.

 

(b) Falsely represents himself or herself to be a person licensed to practice or engage in any profession for which a license is required by the laws of this state with purpose to induce another to rely upon such representation, and:

 

(1) Performs an act in that pretended capacity; or

 

(2) Causes another to act in reliance upon such representation

 

(c) Represents himself or herself to be a licensed surety recovery agent without first having obtained the license required by the surety recovery agent code

 

(d) Represents himself or herself or shall act as a private watchman, private detective or private police officer without first having obtained the required written license from the Kansas City Board of Police Commissioners.

 

Section 3. Continued validity of prosecutions or investigations. Consistent with Section 1-16, Code of Ordinances, no matter alleging a violation of Section 50-43, Code of Ordinances, commenced prior to the effective date of Section 2 of this ordinance shall be precluded by enactment of this ordinance. It is the intention of the Mayor and Council that amendment of Section 50-43, Code of Ordinances, operate prospectively and without effect on current prosecutions or potential prosecutions alleging wrongdoing under the then effective Section 50-43, Code of Ordinances.

 

_________________________________________

 

Approved as to form and legality:

 

 

____________________________________

Assistant City Attorney