At first glance, native Washingtonian Gayle Brandon-Behrend, a former beauty queen and at-risk youth worker with a degree as a registered nurse, seems an unlikely choice to head the state’s oldest bail bond company, Lacey O’Malley Bail Bond Agency, in Seattle, WA.
But initial impressions can be deceiving. With over 30 years in the business, the former Miss Tri-Cities (1975) has earned the reputation as an innovative, ethical, and visionary leader. Gayle’s vision has been adopted throughout the industry, as early as 1993, with a law requiring all Washington bail agents be state licensed and receive Continuing Education.
The main force behind that law, Joe Lacey, for whom it was named, and his wife, Fran, Lacey O’Malley’s founding owners, were Gayle’s mentors and godparents in the industry. “They counseled and trained me to conduct business the right way – the ethical way,” she recalls. “I am forever grateful that I could tap into their wisdom.” She purchased the agency from the Laceys in 1997.
Gayle has continued to work tirelessly to upgrade the image and professionalism of this much-misunderstood business which has come into public awareness through such shows as “Dog the Bounty Hunter.” She was instrumental in passing legislation in 2006 requiring that bail bond recovery agents be trained and licensed and required to receive regular Continuing Education.
But there is more to the business than just posting bail. “There is a very real emotional side to crime. Negative behavior has consequences that can be costly and painful. Our clients usually have families and loved ones who also become a part of the bail process.” With Gayle’s faith in God, she is able to provide hope & support to the families going through this difficult time.
Gayle’s compassion is shared by her business and life partner, husband Denny Behrend, former Seattle police officer and retired deputy U.S. Marshal. The two met through John Walsh, host of “America’s Most Wanted” when Denny was a Supervisor & Public Information Officer for the U.S. Marshal’s Service of the Western Washington District. Gayle is a loving and dedicated stepmother to Denny’s four adult children.
Gayle’s experience working with the Washington State legislature is a valuable asset to Denny who in 2010 was selected to be on Governor Christine Gregoire’s task force for bail bond reform.
Gayle shares her vision and expertise both regionally and nationally as an active member of such organizations as Washington State Bail Agents Association (WSBAA) and Professional Bail Agents of the United States (PBUS). She is also a board member and major fundraiser for Crime Stoppers of Puget Sound. She sits on the “Citizen’s for Judicial Excellence” (CJE) Board of Directors.
In 2005 she was named the PBUS “Bail Agent of the Year” by her peers. She was just inducted into the PBUS Hall of Fame. PBUS represents nearly 14,000 licensed bail bond agents across the United States.
Denny Behrend is in good company. He has shared the title of deputy U.S. Marshal with such legendary American figures as Wild Bill Hickok, Bat Masterson, and the three Earp Brothers; Virgil, Morgan, and Wyatt.
While not as celebrated as his illustrious predecessors, the Washington native and former Seattle police officer served the Western District of Washington with distinction and valor for
twenty-seven years, retiring in 2001.
And, though Denny may not have been famous, some of his cases were; such as that of Christopher Boyce of “The Falcon and the Snowman” fame. Denny was among the team of federal agents that tracked and arrested prison-escapee Boyce, in Port Angeles, Washington and bank robbers Joseph Dougherty and Terry Lee Connors. He also escorted serial arsonist Martin Pang from his safe haven in Brazil to Seattle to stand trial for multiple murders.
But this was all just another day at the office for Denny. For more than a decade he managed the U.S. Marshal’s, Western District, fugitive apprehension detail with previous assignments in witness protection, bank security, prisoner transfer, and assets forfeiture.
Denny is one of the few Deputy U.S. Marshals to receive the prestigious Director’s Award presented by the U.S. Marshal’s Service, not once but twice.
While Denny’s career in law enforcement was stellar, retirement was something less than what he expected. “He flunked it,” says his wife, Gayle, co-C.E.O of Lacey O’Malley Bail Bonds, the oldest agency in the state (founded 1945). He is currently Lacey O’Malley’s Vice President and Director of Public Relations, regularly demonstrating his knowledge and proficiency in marketing, public relations, and the Federal, State, County, and Municipal court systems.
His Expert-level knowledge of the criminal justice system is second to none as is his ability to establish productive working arrangements with its diverse community and officials. He is esteemed by the law enforcement community, the judiciary, and members of the bar. Following Maurice Clemmons’ mass murder of four Lakewood police officers, it was Denny to whom members of the media turned to for perspective on the bail system that had enabled the killer’s freedom. A distinct honor, in 2010, Denny was selected to serve as a committee chairperson on Washington State Governor Christine Gregoire’s taskforce to implement bail reform. Even the accused and the criminals appreciate him for the respect he has provided as a lawman, and continues to provide as a businessman. It is a belief totally in sync with Lacey O’Malley and its core values.
Denny, a board member of CrimeStoppers of Puget Sound, was introduced to Gayle (a former
Miss Tri-Cities) by John Walsh of America’s Most Wanted fame. Together they are the proud parents of Denny’s four children (from a previous marriage), and energetically work, play, and generally enjoy their world together. Denny’s life has been, and continues to be, one dedicated to serving others. That’s a good thing…even if he isn’t Wyatt Earp.