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United States Marshalls

Significant Points
This job series covers positions involving a range of law enforcement responsibilities including serving a variety of civil writs and criminal warrants issued by Federal courts; tracing and arresting people wanted under court warrants; seizing and disposing of property under court orders; safeguarding and transporting prisoners; providing for the physical security of court facilities and personnel; providing for the physical security of jurors and key Government witnesses and their families; preventing civil disturbances or restoring order in riot and mob violence situations; and performing other special law enforcement duties as directed by a court order or by the Department of Justice. These positions require ability in locating and identifying wanted people or property, knowledge of court procedure, basic knowledge of business records and practices, knowledge of Federal and State laws that deputies must enforce, as well as relevant court decisions, and ability to deal with people from all levels of society.
Nature of the Work

This occupation is found only in the United States Marshals Service, Department of Justice. Although the Marshals Service is a part of the Department of Justice, it functions as an executive arm of the Federal courts. Its primary function is to provide support to the Federal courts. This support involves protecting court personnel, facilities, and witnesses, executing writs, process and orders issued by the courts and the Board of Parole, and guarding and transporting prisoners.

Key law enforcement functions performed by the Marshals Service include:

-- Serving a wide variety of court orders;
-- Making arrests for violation of Federal and State laws;
-- Attaching, seizing, safeguarding, and disposing of many kinds of real and personal property;
-- Maintaining custody of and transporting prisoners;
-- Providing for the physical security of court personnel and facilities;
-- Providing for the physical security of jurors and key witnesses;
-- Maintaining or restoring order in the event of actual or potential civil disturbance;
-- Performing a variety of special law enforcement functions in response to court orders and requests of the Department of Justice and other Federal agencies.

From time to time, the Marshals Service is called upon to perform intelligence reconnaissance or quasi-investigatory duties at the request of other Federal law enforcement agencies.

One of the specialized law enforcement activities carried out by deputy marshals is planning and making arrests of persons wanted for criminal violations such as forgery, counterfeiting, illegal entry into the United States, smuggling, kidnapping, auto theft, tax evasion, parole or probation violations, or violations of narcotics, alcohol, tobacco, gambling, or firearms laws. Many of these arrests are made under authority of warrants issued by the courts and the Board of Parole. Arrests of this kind typically involve careful planning, assembly of basic records, astute questioning of a variety of persons to build up information to locate and identify the wanted person, observation of places where arrests can be made, selection of best time and place for the arrest, and the actual making of the arrest in a way that will secure the wanted person with a minimum risk of injury to anyone. Deputy marshals also are authorized to make arrests for the violation of Federal and State laws on the basis of probable cause. This requires a knowledge of the law and court decisions on search, stop and frisk, and related matters. Deputies must, through their demeanor and conduct, convince the wanted or arrested person of their authority, on the one hand, and of their fairness, impartiality, and concern for constitutional rights on the other.

There is an element of hazard in making arrests and seizing property. It arises from the hostile attitudes of persons toward loss of freedom or loss of property, and from often unpredictable reactions to authority figures. In many cases, such as arrest of criminals or parole violators known to be ruthless and dangerous, the deputy takes the possibility of violence into account in laying plans. In other cases, no prior planning is possible, and the deputy must react instantly to unanticipated threats of harm to himself or to bystanders. The element of hazard makes demands on the skills and judgment of the deputy and has been considered in the evaluation factors covering these positions.

Deputy United States Marshall, GS-0082-05

This is the trainee level of deputy marshals who enter the Marshals Service with little or no experience or training in law enforcement. This level involves the limited use of judgment, under close supervision, concerning some phases of various deputy marshal functions. Deputy marshals at this level receive classroom and on-the-job instruction in basic skills and knowledges, such as:

-- Investigative techniques, search of suspects, arrests, and testing for narcotics;
-- Manual skills needed in law enforcement work, i.e., use of firearms, self-defense techniques, control of prisoners, first aid, use of electronic surveillance and detection devices, and radios;
-- Courtroom functions, such as maintaining order in court, administrative arrangements for guarding jurors or court officials, presenting and guarding prisoners in court;
-- Responsibilities under various types of court orders.

Deputies at this level are assigned selected tasks to assist deputies at higher grade levels. For example, the GS-5 deputy goes with a more experienced deputy to serve processes, make arrests and transport prisoners. The trainee is assigned to check records by telephone to secure specific information, to search and restrain persons arrested, and to guard prisoners during local or long-distance moves. He is assigned to guard sequestered juries and to arrange for their meals, housing, and transportation.

The GS-5 Deputy Marshal is closely supervised at each step of his work, but is permitted to use some judgment and resourcefulness in limited aspects of the work. For example, while guarding prisoners in transit, he is expected to assess potential opportunities for escape at crucial points and to take appropriate measures to achieve maximum security. While guarding sequestered juries, the GS-5 deputy applies judgment, within standing instructions, in permitting family members to contact jurors in circumstances that will not prejudice the trial.

Deputy United States Marshall, GS-0082-07

Deputy marshal positions at the GS-7 level usually involve the complete range of deputy marshal functions, except that, to the extent possible, they are not assigned cases where unusual difficulties can be anticipated. The positions are characterized by the relatively independent performance of a wider variety of assignments than is performed by GS-5 deputies. Typical assignments include:

-- Prisoner custody and transport in a wide range of local and long distance situations;
-- Guarding, feeding, and housing jurors or key Government witnesses in cases where there is reason to believe that there may be attempts to tamper with the jury or intimidate or kill the jurors or witnesses;
-- Serving summonses and subpoenas involving chiefly locating the persons designated and leaving the documents with them;
-- Planning and executing warrants of arrest that involve locating wanted persons through conventional sources, making positive identifications, and arranging to safeguard the persons after arrest;
-- Planning and executing court orders for seizures of goods, involving locating and identifying the wanted property, taking possession and arranging for the safeguarding, maintenance, or disposal of the property.

Execution of warrants of arrest at this level involve tracing the wanted persons through directories, post office lists, employers, relatives, neighbors, or other sources where information is available. In most cases, the wanted person is located at his residence or place of business, and the arrest is made by securing positive identification, serving the warrant and taking custody of the person for arraignment. The possibility of violent reactions or escape attempts is always present, and the deputy must use judgment in sizing up the situation and the wanted person, and must be alert to respond properly to irrational acts. Searches conducted on the basis of probable cause require the exercise of good judgment and a knowledge of the law and pertinent court decisions so as to avoid violations of constitutional rights.

Seizures of property involve locating and identifying the goods or property by checking serial numbers, lot numbers, or other identifying marks or features of the property against the court order and against property records. In most cases, the property can be identified and its ownership established through basic records or through conversation with its owner. After making the seizure, the deputy follows standard procedures in having it moved (e.g., he hires truckers), set apart from other goods (e.g., he ropes off an area in a warehouse), safeguarded e.g., he arranges for watchmen), or destroyed (e.g., he oversees the burning, destruction, or dumping of the goods or property).

Level of responsibility

On assignments which would require a GS-5 to work under close supervision, the GS-7 deputy plans his own itinerary and seeks advice on any points where he anticipates unusual complications. He typically carries out assignments independently and checks with the supervisor only on cases that develop serious complications, e.g., when seizures of goods at the time planned would involve exceptional costs for loading, storing, or protection, but on the other hand delay in the seizure might enable the owners to put the goods beyond the reach of the Government. The deputy makes recommendations for later action in cases that cannot be carried out as planned.

Deputy United States Marshall, GS-0082-09

GS-9 deputy marshal positions involve the complete range of deputy marshal functions, including assignments where unusual difficulties are anticipated. Assignments at this level exceed the GS-7 level because of the more complex person-to-person relationships required, the critical nature and scope of the decisions required, and because guidelines cannot be clearly drawn. Typical assignments include:

-- Planning and making arrests that involve locating evasive and potentially dangerous persons through a series of leads that the deputy marshal himself builds up through astute questioning and deduction, and requiring careful planning to minimize the danger of injury to the deputy marshal and others;
-- Planning and carrying out complex and controversial property seizures that involve tracing the ownership of the property, judging the best time for the seizure, and making necessary arrangements to safeguard or dispose of goods or property of considerable value; -- Serving court orders when there is a strong likelihood of serious confrontation or community resistance.
Personal contacts typical of this level include situations in which the deputy marshal must overcome resistance, untangle schemes to evade service of process and overcome efforts to conceal information. Many contacts involve communicating with persons who are emotional or under stress to dissuade them from a course of action that is unlawful or against the public interest, e.g., public demonstrators, trespassers on Federal property, owners of property to be seized under court order, or persons named in court orders such as show cause orders, restraining orders and injunctions.

Key elements in arrests made by GS-9 deputy marshals include:

1. Getting information about the wanted person and deducing his probable whereabouts.
The deputy marshal reviews criminal records, interviews law enforcement officers who have dealt with the wanted person, and talks with individuals who know him to get information about his background, living habits, and temperament.

2. He pays particular attention to indications of the wanted person's character and estimates the likelihood of danger or resistance when he makes the arrest. The deputy marshal traces leads and puts together bits of information from a variety of sources. He establishes reliable sources of information through employers, coworkers, relatives, friends, and neighbors of the wanted person, or through other persons in the community who can be persuaded to provide the information they have. In many cases, this phase is complicated by the efforts of the wanted person's associates to conceal his location and by their refusal to provide reliable information.

3. Planning and making the arrest. From the information he has assembled, the deputy marshal estimates the likelihood of resistance and danger to himself and to bystanders. He may visit possible places of arrest at different times to look over conditions such as places of concealment, escape routes, lines of fire, protection for himself and bystanders, opportunities to surprise the wanted person, possibilities of crowd reaction, and similar factors. He determines the best possible time and place to make the arrest, in light of the circumstances of the case. To carry out the arrest, the deputy marshal finds the wanted person, makes sure he has the right person, identifies himself, informs the wanted person of the charges and his rights, searches for weapons, overcomes any resistance, and secures the person under arrest.

Key elements in property seizures made by GS-9 deputy marshals include:

1. Locating and identifying property or goods to be seized and determining the best time for seizure. The deputy marshal is responsible for assuring that the goods are precisely those identified in court writs. He typically questions persons associated with the goods, and searches business and property records to trace transactions, receipts, and shipment of goods. In many cases, goods to be seized are mixed with similar goods, or the deputy encounters doubtful or inconsistent markings, or evidence of tampering with the goods or the records to make identification difficult. In estimating the best time to seize property, the GS-9 deputy marshal must be concerned with such factors as spoilage of perishables, preservation of foods intermingled with those to be seized, or the costs to the Government for loading or unloading, storing, safeguarding, and maintaining property after seizure. For example, when seizing part of the cargo of a ship, he attempts to find out when and at what port of call the portion of the cargo to be seized will be most readily accessible in the hold. On the basis of this information he decides whether to delay the seizure until other cargo has been removed, sometimes at other ports of call, or go ahead despite extra cost for unloading other cargo. His decision is based on considerations such as the value of the goods, the probable impact of the seizure on the importer's business operations, the apparent reliability of the ship's owners and officers, and the likelihood the ship may be diverted to avoid the seizure.

2. Arranging for safeguarding, maintenance, or disposal of property in custody. Within prescribed cost limits, the deputy marshal is authorized to make arrangements that he considers appropriate for the situation, such as hiring operating engineers to tend boilers or refrigeration equipment, contracting for storage services or protective equipment, and barricading areas containing seized goods. The GS-9 deputy oversees the disposition of property under court orders, such as the repackaging or reworking of contaminated foods or drugs, making arrangements for sales to be conducted by the U.S. marshal or the U.S. attorney. In these cases, the deputy marshal's role is to represent the court in assuring that all requirements of court orders and State laws, with respect to sales of property and dumping of contaminated foods, are met.

Key elements in assignments to maintain or restore law and order or to serve emotion-packed court orders frequently involve:

-- Critical law enforcement situations in which the laws and precedents are vague, conflicting, or just emerging; the deputy's only guide to appropriate action is his judgment, experience in dealing with people under stress, and training in special techniques of law enforcement;

-- Situations that present grave danger to public safety where the deputy's behavior under stress could have widespread repercussions that could impair law enforcement, reduce respect for law and order, or raise public concern over the administration of justice;

-- Situations that require dealing with serious confrontations between opposing extremist groups that attract widespread interest;

-- Situations that involve enforcing broad court orders in the face of general community resistance, or being present at places of potential widespread disturbances to take whatever action the law demands in light of unanticipated and potentially explosive circumstances.

These assignments require seasoned judgment in handling complex person-to-person relationships, and an awareness of the basic social and psychological problems associated with the law enforcement assignments described at this level.

Level of responsibility

With respect to most assignments, GS-9 deputy marshals work independently, or serve as senior members of small teams of deputy marshals. In some instances, however, they play key nonsupervisory roles as members of special teams organized to carry out especially critical or sensitive assignments, such as those to prevent civil disorders, to restore law and order in riot or mob disorder situations, or to guard especially valuable Government witnesses whose lives are believed to be in danger. In either case, they have great independence and authority to make decisions on a broad range of matters involved in arrest, seizures of property, maintaining or restoring order, and other assignments.

The GS-9 deputy keeps his supervisor informed of the actions he takes in specific cases, particularly those likely to result in serious repercussions involving the U.S. marshal. The GS-9 deputy, because of his training and his seasoned judgment developed through experience in handling a wide variety of assignments, seeks advice infrequently, as he determines it to be necessary.

The GS-9 deputy marshal makes significant decisions concerning his assignments without prior review. In planning his approach to difficult arrests, seizures of property, or the service of show cause orders which are apt to arouse the anger of the person to be served, as well as other members of the community, he reviews all the information concerning the case, perceives potential problems, and determines the nature and scope of the inquiry he must make. From all his sources of information, sometimes including informants, he sorts facts and opinions, pieces together the data needed to locate and identify the persons or property, evaluates alternative courses of action, and makes decisions on the timing, manner, and circumstances of his actions.

The GS-9 deputy is authorized to take necessary actions to complete assignments despite obstacles, e.g., to request harbor masters not to clear ships to be seized or ships containing cargo to be seized, or to have the Coast Guard turn back ships that have left port, to hire persons as required to preserve, protect, or maintain goods or property. Decisions and judgments of this sort are reviewed after the fact.

Training, Other Qualifications, and Advancement
  • You must be a U.S. citizen;
  • Be between the ages of 21 and 36
  • Have a bachelor's degree, or three years of qualifying experience, or an equivalent combination of education and experience;
  • Have a valid drivers license with a good driving record;
  • Be in excellent physical condition:
  • Fitness Standards for Men;
  • Fitness Standards for Women;
  • Complete a structured interview;
  • Must meet the Medical Qualifications;
  • Successfully complete a background investigation;
  • Undergo a rigorous 17-½ week basic training program at the U.S. Marshals Service Training Academy in Glynco, GA.
  • Qualifying Experience

    GL-5: GENERAL EXPERIENCE REQUIREMENTS: A four year bachelors’ degree OR a minimum of three years of responsible volunteer or paid experience. Listed below are examples of acceptable experience:

    Law enforcement

    • Work involving the correctional treatment and supervision of criminal offenders in correctional institutions;
    • Classroom teaching or instruction;
    • Sales (other than taking and filing orders as in over-the-counter sales);
    • Interviewing experience in a public or private service agency which involved making determinations on individual requests for services, benefits, etc., and explaining, interpreting, and applying rules, regulations, and procedures;
    • Work involving contacts with the public for the purpose of gathering information, such as credit rating investigator, claims adjuster, journalist, etc.
    • Volunteer teaching or counseling;
    • Other experience that has demonstrated the ability to take charge and make decisions, such as civilian/military supervisory, managerial or leadership responsibility.



    • Have one year of responsible law enforcement experience in addition to the GL-5 experience requirements above;
    • Have the ability to deal effectively with associates, subordinates, the general public, and prisoners;
    • Have the ability to make arrests and use firearms proficiently.

    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.
  • Membership in a national scholastic honor society (other than freshman honor societies) recognized by the Association of College Honor Societies.
  • Successful completion of graduate education in law, or in a field related to law enforcement (e.g., criminal justice), or completion of one full year of graduate study (minimum of 18 semester or 27 graduate quarter hours).

    If you do not qualify based on education or experience alone we will combine your education and experience in an attempt to satisfy the minimum general experience requirements, at the GL-5 level, for Deputy U.S. Marshal positions.
    • All positions are filled at the GL-5 or GL-7 entry levels.
    • GL-5:  between $36,658 and $41,260 (as of January 2008)
    • GL-7:  between $41,729 and $46,969 (as of January 2008)
    • The salaries stated above are an approximation. Actual salary is determined by the geographic location in which employed.


    Sources of Additional Information

    Information about a career as a r may be obtained from local fire departments and from either of the following organizations:

    • International Association of Fire Fighters, 1750 New York Ave. NW., Washington, DC 20006. Internet:
    • U.S. Fire Administration, 16825 South Seton Ave., Emmitsburg, MD 21727. Internet:

    Information about professional qualifications and a list of colleges and universities offering 2-year or 4-year degree programs in fire science or fire prevention may be obtained from:

    Information on obtaining U.S. Marshall positions with the Federal Government is available from the U.S. Marshall Service through, the Federal Government's official U.S. Marshall Service employment information website. For advice on how to find and apply for Federal jobs, download the Insider's Guide to the Federal Hiring Process” online here.


    • U.S. Marshall Service; and
    • Office of Personnel Management, Position Classification Standards.

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