History - Ronald Reagan: Honorary Marshal
A vast amount of change has occurred
in the U.S. Marshals Service (USMS)
since the time when Marshals roamed
the plains on horseback, chasing
fugitives. But the "wild west'' past
sometimes overshadows the present-day
accomplishments of the Marshals
New missions have brought greater
challenges and responsibilities to the
Service. And they have brought greater
recognition for the law enforcement
In 1985, praise came from
former President Ronald Reagan.
"You've kept your honorable traditions,
but today you're fulfilling your responsibilities
with modern skills, technology,
and innovative thinking," President Reagan told the Marshals at
their National Conference in September.
Former President Ronald Reagan and former Marshals
Service Director Stanley Morris
The President also referred to the time
when he played a Deputy U.S. Marshal
in the movie, "Law and Order."
However, he noted that today's Marshals
Service requires skills and technology
far beyond anything contemplated
by the Marshals of the old west.
"It's like comparing the space shuttle to
the stage coach."
U.S. Marshals in a Central Position
The President discussed the status of the
Marshals Service in law enforcement.
"Today you are in the central position
of the Federal justice system. Virtually
every Federal law enforcement initiative
involves the Marshals Service," he said.
He continued by describing the duties of
"If a Federal criminal jumps bail,
violates parole, or escapes from prison,
tracking him down and recapturing him
is your responsibility. When an order is
issued by a Federal court, it's your job
to see the order is carried out. You're
protecting the courts, judges, attorneys
and witnesses, and overseeing dozens of
tasks essential to the functioning of the
justice service," President Reagan said.
"This all adds up to a heavy burden of
Pivotal Role in Law Enforcement
Later, when Stanley E. Morris, former Director
of the USMS, addressed the attendees
at the Marshals Service National Conference,
he discussed why the Service is
at the hub of Federal law enforcement.
"When a Federal offender is arrested, he
is placed in our custody. We fingerprint
him, take him to magistrate court, house
and feed him, escort him to district
court, protect him in the courtroom, and
transport him to the Federal penitentiary,"
"If at any time, the criminal jumps bail,
violates his parole, or escapes from
prison, the Marshals Service tracks him
down and recaptures him.
"We are the enforcement arm of the
courts. We execute all court process and
court orders. We quell civil disturbances,
protect the courts, judges, attorney. and
witnesses. We pay the court's bills; we
seize and sell property condemned by the
courts; and we execute writs for all
Federal agencies, and for many private