‘Better Business Bureau for bail bonds’
On paper, Adam Buffington looks like a contradiction. He’s a tender-hearted father of four, a college football coach and a bail bondsman.
Buffington and his wife, Dana, own A-Affordable Bail Bonds in downtown Brainerd. “We’re an extension of law enforcement,” Buffington said of his role in the bond industry.
A decade ago, Buffington got a late night call that changed the course of his life. Buffington was attending college in St. Cloud and studying to be a teacher when a friend who had been arrested called on Buffington to post his bail. Through the process of bailing out his friend, Buffington found his own purpose.
While posting bail, Buffington was offered a job, on the spot, to work as a bondsman.
“It was weird because you don’t just run into people through the business,” Buffington said. Buffington took the job and redirected his path from becoming a teacher to a bondsman.
In April of 2005, Buffington took over A-Affordable Bonds from the same bail-bonds company owner who helped Buffington post bond for his friend.
“We decided to try it,” he said. “There was potential there.”
For the last six years, Buffington has run his business in a way far different than most view the industry he is in. Buffington takes his work seriously. He’s quick to squash any sensationalized views of the bail-bond industry influenced by bad press and reality television. Buffington’s company is a member of the ExpertBail Network— a network of trusted and experienced bail bond agencies known for their quality of service and compassion for their clients.
“It’s kind of like the Better Business Bureau for bail bonds,” he said.
“The bail business is not as difficult as it seems to be,” Buffington added. “You just need to treat people with respect.”
When a person is arrested and taken to jail they call for help to co-sign their bond guaranteeing they’ll return to court. That’s where Buffington comes in.
“For all intents and purposes it’s like high-risk insurance,” he said.
Buffington said the bond allows a person time to prepare for their court date instead of sitting in jail while the wait, which ultimately ends up creating less cost for taxpayers.
“The majority of people who miss court do so because they can’t get there,” he said. “Most people don’t abscond on purpose.”
When Buffington does run into an issue with a client skipping a court date, he said finding them is essential because of the financial stake involved.
“We’re going to recover them,” he said.
For Buffington, his business is less about the financial gain and more about the impact his work makes on the community and the individuals he works with.
“There’s always going to be plenty of business,” he said. “You’re always going to have crime. At the end of the day people are going to make wrong decisions. The hope is that they learn from it as quickly as possible.”
Although his primary profession shifted from his intention of becoming a teacher, Buffington is still fulfilling his desire to work with students. College students.
A former semi-professional football player, Buffington has always had the desire to coach football. When a former teammate of his, Greg Medeck, landed the job of head football coach at Central Lakes College, Buffington found his in.
“When he got the job I called him up and asked if he needed help,” he said. Buffington volunteers as a linebacker coach for the college team.
The influence Buffington has on his players doesn’t end when they leave the field. Buffington and his wife founded a non-profit, Raiders’ Care, as a mentorship program for the young men on the football team. The group started out with 10-12 guys and has evolved into dozens, many of whom are not athletes but have found value in Raiders’ Care.
“It doesn’t seem like you’re doing anything, but it’s obviously important to them,” Buffington said. “Most of them just want someone to talk to.”
One player that was involved with the group was CLC quarterback Dominique Corder, who was tragically killed in January while home in Indianapolis for the winter break.
“Dom was kind of a catalyst for a lot of the guys who come,” Buffington said. “When you fail to understand you have to have faith. And trust.”
Buffington said that Raiders’ Care is more than just a mentorship program— in many ways it ties into his business as a bond agent.
“My hope is that we can run interference and not have to do this in the other capacity,” he said.
Buffington said many of the young men he works with who end up in jail lack a strong, positive father figure in their lives and they often end up asking him, their bail bondsman, for guidance.
“They don’t know how to be men because there’s a lack of men in their lives,” he said. “We can do a better job.”
SARAH NELSON may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 855-5879.