Real Talk with CJ: Deputy Marshal Natalie Garza

Real Talk with CJ

Tue Sep 21, 2010
2:00 pm - 3:00pm
CJ Cafe (CJava)

Alumni Natalie Garza found a diverse and exciting career in the U.S. Marshals Service. As a deputy in the federal agency, Garza assists with apprehending federal fugitives, protecting the federal judiciary, shielding the Witness Security Program, transporting federal prisoners and seizing property acquired through illegal activities.

Deputy U.S. Marshal Natalie Garza will be the Real Talk Tuesday speaker on Sept. 21.

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. Upon completion of 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, a Recruitment Officer for the U.S. Marshals Service Southern District of Texas in Houston, will return to the Criminal Justice Center on Sept. 21 at 2 p.m. in CJava Cafe for "Real Talk Tuesday" to inform students about her agency as well as how to join this exciting federal agency. All SHSU students are invited to attend.

Called the U.S. Marshals Service Centralized Student Career Experience Program, the cooperative education program prepares students for Deputy U.S. Marshals positions, It is a 16 week, work-study program for 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 8,200 witness and 9,800 of their family members.

The Marshals Service houses more than 58,000 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 75 percent of prisoner are held in these facilities, with the remainder housed in the Federal Bureau of Prisons.

"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 recently 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.

"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 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 $1.7 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.

Garza will be joined at the "Real Talk Tuesday" presentation by other SHSU Alumni, including Deputy U.S. Marshals Louis Labarge and Marianne Matus, who also work in the Houston office.

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