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US Marshals Service

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The US Marshals Service is the oldest national law enforcement organization in the United States. The Service has its headquarters in Arlington, Virginia, and is led by a director chosen by the President (Carsten, 2007). Currently, the director of the Service is John Clark. The US Marshals Service is an execution arm of the United States Department of Justice, directing the activities of ninety four districts in the country. Each federal judicial district has its own Marshal. The organization is composed of over 3,300 criminal investigators and Deputy Marshals, who form the skeleton of the service. The US Marshals Service is the nation’s leading agency charged with the responsibility of carrying out investigations involving the fugitive federal prisoners, violators of parole, probation and bond default, as well as making arrests on every federal warrant (Carsten, 2007). In addition, the organization manages witness protection programs, oversees the transportation of prisoners between different locations (through the Justice Prisoner and Alien Transportation system) and seizes and disposes of properties recovered during the criminal investigations under the Asset Forfeiture Program (Carsten, 2007).

US Marshal Qualifications

Initially, applicants to the various employment opportunities offered by the US Marshals Service were mandated to take a special exam. However, today, the Service employs the Federal Career Intern Program to recruit new people. The program includes two years of training and development, after which a candidate is officially hired depending on whether he or she performs adequately. The training takes place at the United StatesMarshalsServiceTrainingAcademy in Glynco, Georgia (Carsten, 2007). Those aspiring to become the U.S. Marshals must accomplish a thorough seventeen and half-week basic training in addition to the following qualifications; must be a U.S. citizen between the age of 21 and 36, has a Bachelor’s degree, has three years experience in law implementation, have a good physical condition, have an absolute structured interview, meets the required medical qualifications, and have a successful and total background investigation (Carsten, 2007).

The position of the Deputy U.S. Marshal, on the other hand, demands that one meets the following requirements; has a Bachelor’s degree (four years) or three years of qualifying experience which comprises of experience in classroom instruction/ teaching, law enforcement, sales or counseling. Other qualifying experience include interviewing experience in both public and private service organization, work experience in supervision and correctional treatment of criminals in correctional institutions, experience in gathering information from the public (i.e. journalism), as well as leadership or managerial responsibility (Carsten, 2007).

Investigative Functions of the U.S. Marshals Service

The investigative roles of the U.S. Marshals Service include taking part in international investigations, implementing criminal and civil processes, hunting down and arresting fugitives under the jurisdiction of the Service, and participating in local and state task forces aimed at capturing local and state criminal escapees (Carsten, 2007). Other functions include; organizing and sponsoring regional task forces, and taking part in federal task forces like the Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force

The Role of the Organization

The roles of the U.S. Marshals Service are discussed below:

Protecting Courts

The organization has the responsibility to protect the federal courts and implement decisions made by the courts. According to Langley (2003), the role of the U.S. Marshals Service in protecting the courts include making certain that over 2,000 judges and 400 courtrooms are secure in the whole of the United States, guarding high-risk trials, offering personal escorts, installing and monitoring security systems, giving security during judicial conferences, as well as evaluating the suspicious mails which have been sent to the courtrooms.

Tracking down Federal Fugitives

Tracking down of federal fugitives and arresting them, is another role of the U.S. Marshals Service. To do this, the organization works closely together with the federal, state and local authorities.

Transporting of Prisoners

Through the Justice Prisoner and Alien Transportation System (JPATS), the U.S. Marshal Service runs an airline that is committed exclusively to the transport of prisoners. JPATS facilitates transfers of prisoners from one prison to another, and transports prisoners from holding stations to courts for trial (Langley, 2003). The airline possesses various aircrafts, vans and buses for moving prisoners. JAPTS handles approximately 300,000 prisoners yearly. It is the responsibility of the U.S. Marshals Service to ensure safe and secure transport of prisoners, as well as maintaining strict trial schedules.

The US Marshals Service offers a twenty-four hour protection to every witness who is in high threat surroundings, including protection during trial testimonies, pre-trial conferences, as well as other appearances in the court (Langley, 2003). In addition, the organization provides witnesses and their families with a safe and protected facility to reside in during the trial period, and hides witnesses from criminals by giving them a new identity in various parts of the country. In criminal and civil cases, where protected witnesses are involved, the U.S. Marshals Service collaborates with the court and local law enforcement authorities to ensure that witnesses accomplish their legal responsibilities of testifying (Langley, 2003).

The US Marshals Service has the responsibility of seizing and disposing of assets recovered during the national criminal investigations, mostly drug crimes. Assets such as homes, cars, cash etc are sold off to finance law implementation initiatives (Langley, 2003).

The U.S. Marshals together with their deputies have the authority to implement federal court criminal and civil processes via means, such as warrants, summons among others. 

Other Operations

When needed, the U.S. Marshals are called to offer their services based on their expertise. For instance, the organization’s Special Operations Group, which consists of particularly trained officials who work similar to the local police force, but at the federal level is often called to control civil unrests i.e. the L.A. riots (Langley, 2003).

The Structure, Date Founding & the Funding Source

The U.S. Marshal Service is more than 200 years old, making it the oldest federal enforcement agency in the U.S. It was founded on September 24, 1789 subsequent to the passage of the Judiciary Act by the U.S. Congress. The organization was established to offer the assistance and guidance to the U.S. Marshals all over the country. The U.S. Marshal Service is funded by the federal government (Langley, 2003). The following is the structure of the organization:

Why The U.S. Marshals Were Founded, By Whom And How The Agency Has Changed Since Its Inception

The U.S. Marshal Service is more than 200 years old making it the oldest federal enforcement agency in the U.S. It was founded on September 24, 1789 after the Judiciary Act was passed by the Congress leading to President George Washington appointing the initial thirteen United States Marshals (Robert, 2008). The need to carry out death sentences on federal prisoners was the basis of the appointment of the Marshals. The Marshals remained their own unit until they were placed under the Department of Justice in 1870 by the Congress. In 1979, the Service was given the extensive authority to hunt and capture federal fugitives among other duties such as tax collection, ensuring of security of federal judges and courts, searching and arresting convicts and slaves who have escaped, and organizing for census among others (Robert, 2008). In addition, they also participated in the collection of valuable statistical data for the federal government, as well as arresting spies and taking control of the borders during times of war. With the aid of their deputies, the Marshals successfully carried out the above tasks.

However with time, significant changes have been seen in the range of duties of the service. While initially the U.S. Marshals Service was in charge of only thirteen legal districts, today, the districts have increased to ninety four throughout the U.S. In addition, there was only a small number of federal and district judges at the inception of the organization, but now, that number has increased significantly implying an expansion of the work scope of the marshals since they have to direct the activities of all the 94 districts and ensure the security of the growing number of judges, courts, prisoners and witnesses (Robert, 2008). The rapid growth of court locations with respect to the Marshal personnel saw the tasks of the organization being reduced drastically. Currently, the functions of the U. S. Marshals Service are limited to a court police in charge of the U.S. federal courts. About 55% of the federal fugitives all over the country have been arrested by the organization, an implication that they are successful in their duties. The authority of the U. S. Marshals Service is similar to that of the FBI. The Service has the authority to operate in every county and state in the U.S. and arrest suspects. The organization has maintained its development of programs that assist in fugitives capture for instance, Operation FALCON and the Fugitive Safe Surrender program. The Marshals continuously collaborate with other law enforcement organizations to ensure that fugitives are apprehended (Robert, 2008).

What Type of Law Enforcement Investigations Function Do They Do

The U.S. Marshal Service carries out law enforcement investigative functions such as making arrests for federal crimes, implementing federal fugitive warrants and taking control of riots. The organization also carries out investigations in relation to escaped violators of federal bond, parole, probation, prisoners, as well as conducting drug investigations. The U.S. Marshals are mandated to carry firearms (Robert, 2008).

In 2009, the organization made over 36,000 apprehensions of federal fugitives, and nearly 91,000 arrests of local fugitives in collaboration with the federal, state and local authorities. In the same year, they also coordinated about 874 extraditions from sixty five nations (Robert, 2008).

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