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January 2014


How to Become a Bounty Hunter

Column: ATF Agent Says Goodbye to a Legendary Fellow Agent Jay Dobyns

Jay Dobyns/his website

Vince Cefalu is an ATF agent.
By Vincent A. Cefalu

 Beginning Monday January 13, 2014, Senior Special Agent Jay “Jaybird” Dobyns will join the civilian ranks after what can only be described as an incredibly storied career.

Dobyns, a college standout wide receiver from the University of Arizona decided on a law enforcement career. However, one must wonder if knowing what he knows now, whether he would make the same choice today.

The answer is a resounding YES. Before Agent Dobyns could collect his first ATF paycheck, he was taken hostage and shot in the Arizona desert. Barely escaping death, lesser committed Agents may have seen the writing on the wall. However, ATF would learn that Dobyns was not the average Agent.

Special Agent Dobyns would recover and return to duty with a vengeance and what can only be described as a fixation with protecting those who could not protect themselves. His career brought him in contact with some of the most violent groups in U.S. history.

Dobyns went on to become involved in another near lethal encounter involving himself and fellow Agents of the Chicago field division. Known and loved throughout the Bureau, Agent Dobyns was often asked to share his expertise, cunning and professionalism.

As one of the Agency’s premier and battle tested undercover operatives, Dobyns willingly accepted assignments that placed him face to face with hardened drug dealers, murderers, rapists and subversive groups and gangs coast to coast.

Special Agent Dobyns is the recipient of the prestigious Top Cop award, multiple decorations for valor, and is regarded as one of the Agency’s most notable undercover operatives.

Jay Dobyns

Dobyns again received notoriety when his unprecedented infiltration of the infamous Hells Angels Motorcycle gang was made public. What should have been the pinnacle of a career of service became a nightmare for Dobyns and his family.

Death threats abounded unlike the Agency had ever experienced. At a time when the Bureau was experiencing a breakdown in leadership, the death threats went unaddressed causing a furor in the field nationwide. Dobyns was dismayed at the lack of protection and appropriate action by ATF leadership and ultimately challenged ATFs practices through the U.S. Office of Special Counsel. The dispute was later resolved with an undisclosed settlement, but Dobyns problems were not yet over.

Dobyns public challenges to gross mismanagement and corruption within the Bureau did not make him friends in ATF headquarters. Dobyns became publicly vocal about the direction of the Bureau and joined others in exposing misconduct and waste fraud and abuse within the Bureau to the Office of the Inspector General and members of Congress.

Dobyns became instrumental in exposing the agency’s acts during the “Fast and Furious” hearings and has been outspoken regarding the abusive tactics being employed by ATF managers against whistleblowers.

As Dobyns settled into his final approach to retirement, yet another near fatal attack on Dobyns and his family left his family home burnt to the ground. The agency failed to respond to the arson and attempted murder of Dobyns and his family. This failure to act by ATF resulted in an ongoing litigation and resulted in the Agency countersuing Agent Dobyns.

Throughout these years, Agent Dobyns continued to do what “The Bird” does. He continued to offer his expertise in undercover operations to his fellow Agents as well as outside State and Local Agency’s. Dobyns was a coveted speaker and trainer in all walks of law enforcement and even military training environments. With very public disputes with ATF swirling, Dobyns continued his infectious praises for the Agency and its personnel he loved.

Vince Cefalu

Dobyns gave his time and energy to his community, coaching children’s football, and acted as an emissary for his local church on a good will mission to impoverished villages in Africa.

Agents Dobyns has given selflessly, to his Agency, his Family and the Community. Agent Dobyns is leaving the Agency 4 years before he would be required to retire mandatorily, and with that, taking irreplaceable institutional knowledge and experience with him.

Perhaps most notable, Dobyns penned the New York Times best selling book, No Angel, My Harrowing Undercover Journey to the Inner Circle of the Hells Angels.


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