The U.S. Marshals Service is the oldest federal law enforcement office in the country, (though the U.S. Customs Service is the oldest federal agency in the United States). U.S. Marshals have a wide range of responsibilities, including running the federal witness protection program, safeguarding prisoners awaiting trial, and bringing fugitives to justice. The service is also tasked with providing enforcement for the federal court system, which means providing security for federal courthouses, protecting federal judges, conducting investigations, and enforcing the orders of the judiciary and the attorney general.
What Are the US Marshals?
Established in 1789, the U.S. Marshals were directed to provide enforcement services by President George Washington. The service presently has 94 marshals, with more than 3,000 deputy marshals. Deputy Marshals work hand-in-hand with state and local police agencies to track down and capture wanted and escaped criminals.
Candidates entering the U.S. Marshals Service must be between the ages of 21 and 36 and have a valid driver’s license. They must also hold a bachelor’s degree—though a master’s degree is preferred—along with three years’ relevant work experience. Relevant work experience includes work in law enforcement, investigations, writing reports, and knowledge of the law and its application.
Candidates must pass a thorough and extensive background investigation, along with passing an oral interview, polygraph examination, and medical evaluation. The application process for the U.S. Marshals Service is protracted, taking from nine months to a year to complete.
Once accepted, candidates are required to attend a 17-week training program at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC) in Glynco, Georgia. A few of the subjects covered during training include: legal training, defensive tactics, firearms training, physical conditioning, driver training, evidence and procedure, first aid, search and restraint, computer training, security, survival, entry and search, high-threat trials, search and seizure, surveillance, and protective service training.
After graduation, candidates must be willing to relocate and take their duties within any of the 94 districts. They are required to remain at their first duty assignment for a minimum of three years.
Because it is the oldest law enforcement agency in the United States, the Marshals Service is expected to be part of the federal justice system in the future. The Marshals service hires sporadically as need requires. This need is predicated on vacancies and funding at any given time. Potential candidates are advised to visit the employment page of the U.S. Marshals Service to find out when hiring will take place.
Deputy Marshals earn between $38,000 and $48,000 during their first year. Geographical location determines the exact figure. At the end of the first year of employment, they are eligible for promotion and pay raises.