Where a US Marshal works and what they do from day to day is certainly a subject of curiosity to many. This is understandable as the US Marshals Service is a high-level and somewhat elusive entity in law enforcement. Let’s take a deeper look at this agency and where its agents work as well as some of what they do.
A Critical Role Evolved
The US Marshals Service is the oldest, official law enforcement agency in the US, having been formed in 1789. According to the US Marshals Service, this first law enforcing body consisted of 13 officers to serve the entire country. For many years, this force sent its marshals out into the country to enforce law and order as well as to apprehend those wanted for serious crimes. Over time, this role changed as other law enforcement agencies formed and took control of many these areas.
As these changes happened, the role of the US Marshals Service evolved to take on fewer yet more refined roles. These more modern responsibilities and changes saw the agency become the more elusive, curiosity-invoking entity that it is today. Not all roles played by the agency are so mystery-filled however. The agency’s modern responsibilities are as follows.
- Apprehend fugitives
- Provide judiciary protection
- Transport federal prisoners
- Protect federal witnesses
- Manage seized criminal assets and property
Federal law spans all 50 states. As a result, where a US Marshal works simply revolves around job assignment. As you read this, there are US Marshals assigned to locations all over the United States, playing crucial roles in the aforementioned, core functions of the agency. Some very common and more specific examples of daily tasks and typical locations are as follows.
Many people are unaware of the presence of US Marshals on passenger flights. Marshals are onboard many flights for prisoner transport. In other cases they are flying simply for transport to another assignment or office. In addition, marshals take flights for randomized surveillance and protection of those flights and their passengers. Whenever possible, the marshal takes a low-key persona, not making it known to those around them of their authority.
There are many administrative functions that a marshal must tend to. Affidavits, signatures, briefings, clerical investigation, meetings, and more call for some due office time. Much of this office work is done at field offices, or satellite branches throughout the states. On occasion though, the marshal may have to travel back to the federal headquarters in Arlington, Virginia.
As much as possible, the US Marshals Service tries to keep its actual field marshals out of court and in the field working. This is done through affidavits and statements that can be presented at court without the marshal being physically present. Sometimes though, this isn’t possible, and the marshal will need to travel to the overseeing court to physically participate in the hearing.
Finally, US Marshals often find themselves at ground-level, on the streets. Many of their investigative activities at this level require surveillance. In other cases, they are on the hunt for witnesses and the testimony of those with any knowledge of a suspect. During apprehensions, the marshal will most often seek assistance from local law enforcement for extra precaution and safety.
As mentioned in the core function list of the US Marshals Service, there are a number of other tasks not yet addressed here that pertain to marshals. Judicial protection might see the marshal providing protection over a judge or jury. Prisoner transport may also put the marshal on the road, guarding a vehicle with federal prisoners. These other venues also move the marshals around quite a bit.
Related Resource: Crime Lab Analyst
US Marshals’ duties have changed over the years, but their roles in our law enforcement system are still just as crucial. In fulfilling these crucial duties, the typical marshal is suspect to assignment anywhere within the 50 states and at any time. This is the life of today’s marshal..