The U.S. Marshals Service (a.k.a. USMS) is our nation's most versatile – as well as our nation’s oldest – federal law enforcement agency. The United States has had Federal Marshals since 1789, although they are much more visible today than in earlier days. U.S. Marshals have a uniquely central position in our nation's federal justice system.
The U.S. Marshal Service is the law enforcement arm of the United States federal court system, and consequently, the agency is involved in nearly every federal law enforcement initiative. U.S. Marshals are appointed by the President of the United States and are responsible for directing the activities of over 90 individuals districts – one district for each federal judicial district.
The U.S. Marshal service is comprised of over 3,000 Deputy Marshals and Criminal Investigators. Among their many responsibilities and duties, U.S. Marshals apprehend more than fifty percent of all federal fugitives, operate the Witness Security Program, protect the federal judiciary, transport federal prisoners, enforce court orders, conduct body searches and Attorney General orders that involve civil disturbances and acts of terrorism, execute both criminal as well as civil processes, and seize property acquired by criminal via illegal activities.
Major Duties of the U.S. Marshal Service
- Judicial Security
One of the most important, but less visible, duties of U.S. Marshals is to protect federal judicial officials including attorneys, judges, and jurors. This is one of the primary missions of the U.S. Marshal Service. Marshals use the latest security equipment and techniques during high profile trials.
Law enforcement officers with ample experience, having served in a variety of specialties and capacities throughout their law enforcement careers, comprise the majority of the agency's Court Security Officer (CSO) program. These security offers are contracted employees and as such receive limited deputations as special Deputy Marshals for the court yet play a very important role in courthouse security.
Using security-screening systems, Court Security Officers detect and intercept prohibited items, including weapons, that individuals try to bring into federal courthouses. Deputy Marshals, Senior Inspectors, and Court Security Officers also provide security at other federal facilities that support court operations. The U.S. Marshal Service also oversees almost every aspect of courthouse construction projects to ensure the safety of court personnel, federal judges as well as the public.
- Transporting Prisoners/JPATS
The U.S. Marshals and the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement combined their forces in 1995 to establish the Justice Prisoner and Alien Transportation System, commonly referred to simply as JPATS. The merger between the two agencies created an effective and efficient system for transporting criminal aliens and prisoners.
Today, JPATS is arguably one of the largest prisoner transporters in the world. The agency handles over 1,400 prisoners relocation requests a day between correctional institutions, judicial districts, and foreign countries. JPATS transports more than 350,000 prisoners and aliens a year via coordinated ground and air systems.
- Investigative Operations
The U.S. Marshal Service is the primary federal agency responsible for conducting investigations of fugitives. U.S. Marshals arrest and apprehend more fugitives each year than all other state and federal law enforcement agencies combined. In 2008 alone, U.S. Marshals apprehended nearly 40,000 federal fugitive felons.
U.S. Marshals currently head over 90 district fugitive task forces and six regional fugitive task forces. These task forces are dedicated to finding and arresting fugitive criminals at large. The U.S. Marshal Service has developed very close professional relationships with a variety of law enforcement agencies, and provides expertise, assistance and training to law enforcement agencies on the local, state, federal and international levels.
- Prisoner Operations
The U.S. Marshals Service is responsible over 58,000 detainees in local, state, federal and private prison systems throughout the United States. To house pre-sentenced prisoners, the U.S. Marshals Service contracts with nearly 1,800 local and state governments to rent space in local and state jails.
Nearly seventy-five percent of the prisoners that are in the U.S. Marshals Service custody are housed in state, local and private facilities; the remaining twenty-five percent are detained in Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) facilities.
- Tactical Operations
Every year the U.S. Marshals Services performs hundreds of special tactical missions that fall within the scope its jurisdiction. The agency also responds to various national emergency and homeland security crises.
The U.S. Marshals Service Special Operations Group is a special operations tactical unit made up of Deputy Marshals, who can respond immediately to incidences both nationally and abroad.
- Asset Forfeiture
The U.S. Marshals are tasked with handling and disposing of forfeited and seized properties acquired illegally by criminals. Under the DOJ's Asset Forfeiture Program, U.S. Marshals handle property and promptly disposes of assets forfeited by all Department of Justice agencies valuing nearly $1.8 billion. The primary mission of the U.S. Marshal lead Assest Forfeiture Program is to get the highest return possible from forfeited property and then reinvest these proceeds to support law enforcement purposes.
- Witness Security
U.S. Marshals are responsible for ensuring the safety and security of witnesses, who risk their lives to testify in federal government cases involving organized crime as well as other significant criminal activities. Since the early 1970s, the U.S. Marshal Service has relocated, protected and provided new identities to nearly 8,300 federal witnesses and nearly 10,000 of their family members.
The success of the Witness Security Program has been recognized by other law enforcement agencies, politicians, and other government agencies as providing a valuable and truly unique tool in the federal government's battle against major organized criminal enterprises as well as international terrorist groups.
Deputy Marshals involved in the Witness Security Program are considered by many to be the world's foremost experts and leading authorities on witness security matters. U.S. Marshals involved with the Witness Security Program provide specialized training and guidance to various governments and foreign officials worldwide.
Qualifications for Becoming A U.S. Marshal
- You must be a U.S. citizen
- Be between the ages of 21 and 36
- Possess a bachelor's degree, and/or have 3 years of qualifying work experience, or an equivalent combination of education and experience
- Be in excellent physical condition. You be able to pass the Fitnesss Standards for Men or the Fitness Standards for Women as set forth by the U.S. Marshal Service.
- Have a valid drivers license with a good driving record
- Complete a structured interview
- Successfully complete a background investigation
- Must meet the Medical Qualifications
- Successfully an intensive 17-' week basic training program at the U.S. Marshals Service Training Academy in Glynco, GA
GL-5: GENERAL EXPERIENCE REQUIREMENTS: A four-year bachelors' degree OR a minimum of three years of responsible volunteer or paid experience.
GL-7: Superior Academic Achievement:
- A bachelor’s degree and one of the following Superior Academic Achievement provisions:
- A grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 or higher for all completed undergraduate courses, or for those courses completed during the last 2 years of undergraduate study.
- Rank in the upper 1/3 of your college or university undergraduate class.
Basic Training Requirements
United States Marshals Service Basic Training Academy is carried in Glynco, GA, at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC).
New Deputies are hired as GS-0082 series Deputy U.S. Marshals. Basic training for GS-0082 Deputies consists of 17-' weeks of basic training instructed by the FLETC and USMS instructors.
The following are just a few of the major subjects covered during training:
- Legal Training
- Defensive Tactics
- Firearms Training
- Physical Conditioning
- Driver Training
- Courtroom Evidence & Procedure
- First Aid
- Prisoner Search & Restraint
- Computer Training
- Court Security
- Officer Survival
- Building Entry & Search
- High Threat Trials
- Search and Seizure
- Protective Service Training