Deputy U.S. Marshal

The United States Marshals Service is the nation's oldest federal law enforcement agency, making this agency the granddaddy of criminal justice jobs. Formed in 1789, some of the country's most famous law enforcers including Wyatt Earp and Wild Bill Hickok were at one time deputy marshals. Today, the Marshals Service's primary duty is providing law enforcement and security for the country's federal courts. Duties include tracking down and arresting fugitives, protecting courthouses, and transporting prisoners. The Service also produces the U.S. Marshals 15 Most Wanted Fugitives.

Job Description

A Deputy U.S. Marshal will be assigned to one of 94 districts throughout the country. There is a district for each of the country's federal judicial districts. A thorough understanding of law enforcement policies and procedures and a heightened sense of vigilance are just a few of the qualities needed for these physically demanding criminal justice jobs. Job duties can include:

  • Judicial Security - Federal courthouses are protected by U.S. Marshals. They assist with courtroom security measures since they are responsible for the safety and security of judges, prosecutors, defense attorneys, and jury members. The Service is also involved in any court related construction projects to make sure new buildings or renovations will meet required security standards.
  • Witness Relocation - The Witness Protection Program is run by the Marshals Service. Sometimes a government witness's courtroom testimony puts the witness's family into. Marshals assist in relocating threatened government witnesses with new identities and help them start a new life. They work with these witnesses to ensure very limited contact is made with associates from their previous life.
  • Prisoner Transport - Marshals manage the Judicial Prisoner and Alien Transport System (JPATS). This is basically an airline specifically for prisoners. A high level of security must be maintained to prevent any attempted prisoner breaks. Each year, the Service moves more than 350,000 prisoners to various districts, prisons, and foreign countries.
  • Investigations / Arrests - More fugitive arrests are made by the Marshals Service than any other federal law enforcement agency. A Deputy U.S Marshal needs to be skilled in investigative techniques including interviewing witnesses and surveillance methods. They often develop close relationships with local and state law enforcement officials to help track down the fugitives.
  • Applying

    You must meet the following requirements to apply for a position with the Marshals Service: be between the ages of 21 and 36, hold a bachelor's degree or three years of qualifying experience, and be a United States citizen. Qualified applicants will be asked to come in for a structured interview, pass a hearing and vision exam, undergo an extensive background check, and meet minimum physical fitness standards.

    New Marshals are required to undergo 17 weeks of training at the U.S. Marshals Service Training Academy in Georgia where new recruits receive legal, firearms, and computer training. Classes cover court security procedures, defensive tactics, prisoner restraint, courtroom procedures, and physical conditioning. The physical conditioning classes are very rigorous, so recruits need to be in excellent shape before they arrive at the Academy.

    Salary Potential

    New hires will start at either a GS-5 or GS-7 level, based on their law enforcement experience. A GS-5 Marshal can anticipate a base salary between $36,658 and $41,260. A GS-7 Marshal can expect a base salary between $41,729 and $46,959. Salaries are adjusted for particular regions of the country. After one year, you may be eligible for a promotion to the next GS level. Generous benefits including a pension plan, health insurance, paid time off, and a Thrift Savings Plan (similar to a 401K) are also offered. After 25 years of service, a Deputy Marshal is eligible for retirement. All Deputy Marshals must retire by age 57.

    Last Updated: 04/29/2014