2 Idaho bounty hunters accused of impersonating police, holding man at gunpoint

Kevin Ratigan
Kevin Ratigan

Caldwell police arrested bounty hunters Kevin M. Ratigan and David Manery on Wednesday, and the two are charged with felony impersonating an officer after they held someone at gunpoint.

The two men held a 25-year-old man at gunpoint in attempt to detain him, but that victim ended up having no outstanding warrant.

Bounty hunters and bail bondsmen in Idaho are not sworn police officers and are not required to have any training or certification before apprehending people who have jumped bail.

Caldwell Police saw the men when patrol officers spotted the two bounty hunters in an unmarked, decommissioned police car pull over a vehicle near the Maverick gas station on Marble Front Road and North Illinois Avenue. The vehicle had rear emergency lights that were flashing.

Ratigan and Manery told police that they went to the victim's address to talk to him about skipping bond and the victim fled, thinking the two men were law enforcement.

Caldwell Police reported that the victim thought they were police because of their dress and tactical gear. Ratigan and Manery detained the victim for fleeing the scene, but police said the two men had no probable cause to arrest him.

Ratigan, 26, is a licensed bail agent with the Idaho Department of Insurance, listed under Viper Bail Bonds in Nampa. He has been licensed since 2014. Northwest Tactical Response lists Ratigan as the agent in charge of the Boise region for bail recovery. He is not a police officer.

In 2015, Ratigan spoke out against the bounty hunters involved in the fatal shooting of Philip Clay near Idaho Falls during a bond recovery attempt. At the time, Ratigan said he trains bail agents to be less confrontational and to try to defuse what is already a stressful situation.

Manery, 29, is not listed as a licensed bail bondsman with the state but he does work for Northwest Tactical Response, according to its Facebook page in April. Idaho does not require that a person be licensed.

The victim was released with no criminal charges and no injuries.

The next court appearance for Ratigan and Manery is June 21 at 8:30 a.m.

The bounty hunter in Clay's case, Christopher Schulthies, was never criminally charged for killing Clay. Schulthies had no formal training as a police officer, a member of the military or even as a security guard.

After Clay's death, there have been multiple attempts to change state law to implement regulations for bounty hunters, but efforts have failed three years in a row.

In 2018, a bill to regulate bail agents passed in the Idaho House but failed in the Senate.

In 2017, the House Judiciary, Rules and Administration Committee refused to print a bill that would have required agents to wear a shirt reading “Bail Enforcement Agent,” and prohibited them from wearing a badge or a law enforcement uniform.

That bill also would have required them to notify the local sheriff if they were attempting an arrest.

In 2016, a similar bill failed after lobbying by bounty hunters, including Duane “Dog the Bounty Hunter” Chapman of TV fame.

Ruth Brown: 208-377-6207, @RuthBrownNews