U.S. Marshals protect federal judges in the courtroom.
The U.S. Marshals Service offers a diverse and exciting career opportunity, including apprehending federal fugitives, protecting the federal judiciary, shielding the Witness Security Program, transporting federal prisoners and seizing property acquired through illegal activities.
Garza, who received her bachelor's degree from Sam Houston State University's College of Criminal Justice in 2007, started her career at the U.S. Marshals Service through a cooperative education program offered through the College. Upon completion of the Co-Op and graduation, she was offered a position at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center to pursue a job as a deputy U.S. Marshal. After completing basic training, Garza became a deputy and was assigned to her first duty station in McAllen, TX.
"Sam Houston State University is one of three schools in the Houston area to offer the Co-Op program, a paid internship that offers insight to the duties of a Deputy U.S. Marshal," Garza said. Garza is now a Recruitment Officer for the U.S. Marshals Service Southern District of Texas in Houston and she will return to Sam Houston with fellow agents and alumni to talk about the agency and the Co-Op Program.
The U.S. Marshals service apprehended more than 36,000 federal fugitives in 2010. Called the U.S. Marshals Service Centralized Student Career Experience Program, the 16 week, work-study program is open to college students pursuing degrees in Criminal Justice, Political Science, Psychology, Public Administration, Sociology or Social Sciences. It allows students to apply classroom experience to the real world and offers work experience in the public sector. At the end of the 16-week experience, with favorable recommendation and completion of the degree requirements, students may be converted to a full-time position. After 17 weeks of training at a center in Georgia, they can become a Deputy U.S. Marshal.
The U.S. Marshals ensure the safety of witnesses, who risk their lives testifying for the government in cases involving organized crime and other significant criminal activities. Since 1971, the Marshals have protected, relocated and given new identifies to more than 8,300 witness and 9,800 of their family members.
The Marshals Service houses more than 63,000 detainees in federal, state, local and private jails throughout the nation. In order to house these pre-sentence prisoners, the Marshals Service contracts with approximately 1,800 state and local governments to rent jail space, and 80 percent of prisoners are held in these facilities, with the remainder housed in the Federal Bureau of Prisons.
U.S. Marshals transport federal detainee around the world by plane."Any arrests made by a federal agency become our prisoners," said Garza. "We are the only agency that is in charge of the safe keeping and housing of federal prisoners."
The agency also handles federal fugitive investigations, apprehensions and extraditions, a task that often takes deputies out of the county. Deputies from Houston have traveled to Vietnam, Mexico and Columbia as part of the process. The U.S. Marshals is the federal government's primary agency for conducting fugitive investigations. The Marshals apprehend more federal fugitives than any other law enforcement agencies combined, including 36,100 in fiscal year 2010 alone.
"Media and TV show have now titled us 'Manhunters' which is just a Hollywood name for fugitive apprehensions," said Garza. "It’s our job -- they run and our agency doesn’t stop looking for them until they’re found."
The U.S. Marshals seized nearly $4 billion in assets in 2010. The U.S. Marshals Service is responsible for managing and disposing of seized and forfeited property acquired by criminals through illegal activities. Under the auspices of the Department of Justice's Asset Forfeiture Program, the Marshals manage nearly $3.9 billion worth of property and promptly dispose of assets forfeited by all DOJ agencies. The program’s goal is to maximize the net return from forfeited property and then reinvest the proceeds for law enforcement purposes..
The Houston office offers some unique opportunities. It is the entity that collects and destroys illegal weapons for all federal agencies, such as the Drug Enforcement Agency; Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms; the Federal Bureau of Investigation; and the Secret Service. The guns are assembled in huge barrels and pulverized into dust. The office often handles high-profile offenders, such as Robert Allen Stanford, chairman of the Stanford Financial Group, who was charged with one of the biggest securities fraud cases in the country.