US Marshal Service Questions about Quality of life and career

JohnBender

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Ohio
#1
Hello Everyone,

I have searched this forum for similar subjects, but have found nothing. I hope I am not being redundant in my questions.

I was hoping to gain better insight into the life and careers of US Marshals. I have done a LOT of research online, and have attempted to contact my local Marshal, though I screwed that up by missing his call back while I was in class. However, what I find even on other forums are more about the processes you go through at FLETC, salary information, how the promotion system works and other important quantitative but not qualitative information. I am hoping to hear from some Marshals, current or prior, or anyone with genuine information about life within.

I am trying to choose where I head out of graduate school, and one of my most attractive paths that I am interested in is the Marshal Service due to how they integrate with local, regional, state, and federal law enforcement.

For those who do not know me as of yet, I am a 30 year old MBA student at a top school, prior USMC enlisted infantry with 3 trips overseas (2 being non-combat...well all three technically being non combat focused, but I don't think the guys taking pot shots at us knew that on my first one). I have a double undergraduate degree in English composition (formal and academic writing) and Historical Research ( focus on the Cold-War) top of both departments, and graduated with high honors and awards. It was an attempt to replicate a pre-law degree in methodology but not content. An additional consideration in this capacity is that I reluctantly admit that I am classified as a "disabled" vet, so it is 10 points on the test.

The questions I want to know more about are relatively open ended, so I apologize for not asking for very specific facts. They are:

1) What is the actual likelyhood of getting out of protecting the courts? What actually determines the internal career path within the service? I understand that is a big part of the job, especially initially, but in many ways there are alternative and better paying routes to do something similar to this..

2) What is the quality of life within the service? Being Federal, I know that bureaucracy is inherent, but is it strangulation by red tape, or because of the nature of the service is it more on the autonomous side?

3) What does the end state of the salary, especially in the beginning look like? Money is far from a driver for my life and what I wish to pursue, but one of the alternatives to this career is pursuing a typical job post-MBA which often start at six figures. I can read all about salary information online, but that rarely paints an accurate picture as to what federal employees actually walk away with. I ask this for my financial analysis of career viability.

4) How often do Marshals lead the charge on serving warrants, on manhunts, and all of the other "cool" stuff that tends to attract people who need a little adrenaline in their life? I have no delusions of sheepdog grandiose fantasies, or hollywood style action - but I am searching for a job that puts me face-to-face with the scum of society. I am a warrior and trying to hand it up to go be a businessman made me realize it's not a choice, it is in my DNA.

5) What are your general thoughts and considerations on life within the Marshal service? What drawbacks are there that I may not see? What about benefits? I am speaking to the things that you cannot find online. I liken it to knowing a humvee - You can read all about how to operate one, but until you feel it shake at 45mph like a rocket entering earths atmosphere, you don't know anything. That kind of thing.

Thank you for your time and reading my always too long posts. I appreciate any and all information that comes my way.
 
Joined
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#2
We have at least one US Marshall that comes around. I don't know how frequently anymore. He was a former administrator though.
 

JohnBender

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Messages
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Ohio
#3
We have at least one US Marshall that comes around. I don't know how frequently anymore. He was a former administrator though.
Thank you for responding with this - I know a place like Fed Soup would be more Federal service oriented, but I was hoping that there were some people here that either are/were Marshals, or worked closely with them. This is by far the best community that I have found online, and the chances of real information versus "go fuck yourself" is much higher. I appreciate the heads up, I will hopefully will grab his attention with this post.
 

RustyShackleford

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#4
1) What is the actual likelyhood of getting out of protecting the courts? What actually determines the internal career path within the service? I understand that is a big part of the job, especially initially, but in many ways there are alternative and better paying routes to do something similar to this..

2) What is the quality of life within the service? Being Federal, I know that bureaucracy is inherent, but is it strangulation by red tape, or because of the nature of the service is it more on the autonomous side?

3) What does the end state of the salary, especially in the beginning look like? Money is far from a driver for my life and what I wish to pursue, but one of the alternatives to this career is pursuing a typical job post-MBA which often start at six figures. I can read all about salary information online, but that rarely paints an accurate picture as to what federal employees actually walk away with. I ask this for my financial analysis of career viability.

4) How often do Marshals lead the charge on serving warrants, on manhunts, and all of the other "cool" stuff that tends to attract people who need a little adrenaline in their life? I have no delusions of sheepdog grandiose fantasies, or hollywood style action - but I am searching for a job that puts me face-to-face with the scum of society. I am a warrior and trying to hand it up to go be a businessman made me realize it's not a choice, it is in my DNA.

5) What are your general thoughts and considerations on life within the Marshal service? What drawbacks are there that I may not see? What about benefits? I am speaking to the things that you cannot find online. I liken it to knowing a humvee - You can read all about how to operate one, but until you feel it shake at 45mph like a rocket entering earths atmosphere, you don't know anything. That kind of thing.
It seems like a lot of guys are looking to get hired by us lately. Let me preface my response by repeating something I was told while in our academy a little over 12 years ago: "There are 94 districts and 94 different ways of doing things."

1) It depends. Understand that court drives the operation. If there were no court, there would be no Marshals Service. The federal warrants we serve come from those courts. My first three years were spent in one of the busiest courthouses in the country and it felt like working in the mines as I rarely saw the light of day. I spent the next 6.5 years in a courthouse with decent management and if you were proactive and a worker, you were on the street working, when you weren't in court. A couple guys were assigned to the fugitive task force full-time and the rest of us rotated through and also worked fed warrants assigned to us. I was assigned to a specialty team as a collateral assignment during the latter half of this time so I was TDY a lot, which was nice.

2) Quality of life depends on the office. We have offices where guys are always stressing out due to BS inflicted by management and others where life is great. From a bureaucracy standpoint work is more on the autonomous side, but the red tape is still there.

3) When I was hired it was easy to get on without a degree and is one reason why I targeted the USMS. The starting pay was shit. It isn't much better for a new hire with a degree. A few years in that starts to change as a deputy U.S. marshal tops out as a GS 12 step 10, with availability pay (this kicks in two years after being hired), so whatever you see on the OPM page add 25%. A deputy is hired on as a GL-7 step 1 including locality (yes, it changes from GL to GS). You move up every year (7-9-11-12) and then begin increasing by steps. Once you have a year on as a 12 you are eligible to promote into supervisory and specialty jobs, which requires the submission of a promotion packet and taking a test. This is where a degree/degrees prove their worth. A BA/BS is worth 12 points on a promo packet. An MA/MS adds 2 more points. Around 2008 I saw the writing on the wall, finished my degree, and eventually promoted into a specialty position.

4) We are the lead agency on federal warrants assigned to us and state/local warrants assigned to our task forces. We are all assigned cases and serve warrants on a regular basis. If you are proactive and are assigned to the right office, you will get to do what you want to do. With out going into it, I've got to do what guys think they are going to do when they apply for this job and all the paperwork and sleepless nights that go along with good cases.

5) As much as I complain about this job, it has provided me with a lot of opportunities and so far I have taken advantage of almost every one. As a deputy, your primary responsibility is to court ops. It sucks but you learn about the judicial system, law, and people in general. In other words, it lays the groundwork for the rest of your career if you let it.

If you get another opportunity to visit the local USMS office, do it. Just remember, 94 districts and 94 different ways of doing things. Not every office is the same.
 

JohnBender

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Messages
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Location
Ohio
#5
It seems like a lot of guys are looking to get hired by us lately. Let me preface my response by repeating something I was told while in our academy a little over 12 years ago: "There are 94 districts and 94 different ways of doing things."

RustyShackleford,

First and foremost - Thank you for responding and responding meaningfully.

This is incredibly useful to me and anyone else who is thinking about pursuing this as a career. I unfortunately just got a call from my team members who need me to show up to school at 530 in the morning to refine a project due at 830 that just won't die. I was not expecting so instead of trying to rush a response, I will be back later today to edit this message and respond. I wanted to acknowledge your message before I went. Once again, I genuinely appreciate your feedback.
 

JohnBender

Infantry
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Joined
Dec 6, 2016
Messages
78
Location
Ohio
#6
It seems like a lot of guys are looking to get hired by us lately. Let me preface my response by repeating something I was told while in our academy a little over 12 years ago: "There are 94 districts and 94 different ways of doing things."

1) It depends. Understand that court drives the operation. If there were no court, there would be no Marshals Service. The federal warrants we serve come from those courts. My first three years were spent in one of the busiest courthouses in the country and it felt like working in the mines as I rarely saw the light of day. I spent the next 6.5 years in a courthouse with decent management and if you were proactive and a worker, you were on the street working, when you weren't in court. A couple guys were assigned to the fugitive task force full-time and the rest of us rotated through and also worked fed warrants assigned to us. I was assigned to a specialty team as a collateral assignment during the latter half of this time so I was TDY a lot, which was nice.
Thank you for the response once more, I apologize about the delay - Sometimes this program has a 30 hour marathon that is hard to predict or get away from.

The upside is I've had time to think about what you've told me. Just to clarify - I truly do understand that the court system drives the entirety of the service. I hope it did not come off as dismissive or with an air of superiority - I just am trying to see what some of the paths look like away from the initial entry point. It is one of those things that I understand to be - If you aren't ready to do this aspect of the job for an indeterminate amount of time, it would not be a service to consider. I was not dismayed by it, but what makes it even better is that I did not know is that you can work the streets simultaneously - that is a huge boon and as someone who believes you get out what you put in, I am happy to hear this.

2) Quality of life depends on the office. We have offices where guys are always stressing out due to BS inflicted by management and others where life is great. From a bureaucracy standpoint work is more on the autonomous side, but the red tape is still there.
It seems another flavor of "situation dictates". At least it more on the autonomous side, at least that can mitigate a portion of it.

3) When I was hired it was easy to get on without a degree and is one reason why I targeted the USMS. The starting pay was shit. It isn't much better for a new hire with a degree. A few years in that starts to change as a deputy U.S. marshal tops out as a GS 12 step 10, with availability pay (this kicks in two years after being hired), so whatever you see on the OPM page add 25%. A deputy is hired on as a GL-7 step 1 including locality (yes, it changes from GL to GS). You move up every year (7-9-11-12) and then begin increasing by steps. Once you have a year on as a 12 you are eligible to promote into supervisory and specialty jobs, which requires the submission of a promotion packet and taking a test. This is where a degree/degrees prove their worth. A BA/BS is worth 12 points on a promo packet. An MA/MS adds 2 more points. Around 2008 I saw the writing on the wall, finished my degree, and eventually promoted into a specialty position.
Great information, thank you. This is relatively in line with what I found online, but I was wary of when I saw that you guys get promoted from 7 to 12 in about 4/5 years - Yet that is consistent with what you said. Frankly, that is not bad. The time it would take to start making a comparable wage is far shorter than I would have thought with - say - Year 4 being a GS12 Step 1 - ~ 60 grand so about 75 before taxes. Does it compare to being an Operations Manager at SoulSuck LLC? No. Does the job appeal to me and people like me a lot more? Absolutely.

May I ask you if you could clarify what you meant by things not being "much better" for a new hire with a degree? As in - What is the marginal benefit for a GL7 with your typical underwater basket weaving degree or in my case Masters in Bullshit and Asskissing...I mean Business Administration?

4) We are the lead agency on federal warrants assigned to us and state/local warrants assigned to our task forces. We are all assigned cases and serve warrants on a regular basis. If you are proactive and are assigned to the right office, you will get to do what you want to do. With out going into it, I've got to do what guys think they are going to do when they apply for this job and all the paperwork and sleepless nights that go along with good cases.
Thank you for this point especially. I was leary about asking this question, but I am glad that you saw it was coming from sincerity and not immaturity.

May I ask a few more questions? If so, How often does a good case come your way on an average year? Do you know much about other offices? I've read that you tend to get assigned to the region in which you volunteer - Is that true? If that is the case, do you happen to know anything about the Ohio / Columbus offices? If you do not wish to post that on this, I am open to any offline conversations, or just not having it in general.

5) As much as I complain about this job, it has provided me with a lot of opportunities and so far I have taken advantage of almost every one. As a deputy, your primary responsibility is to court ops. It sucks but you learn about the judicial system, law, and people in general. In other words, it lays the groundwork for the rest of your career if you let it.

If you get another opportunity to visit the local USMS office, do it. Just remember, 94 districts and 94 different ways of doing things. Not every office is the same.
I totally understand what you mean - I am all about building solid foundations for any and every aspect of my life, and as such, I am not adverse to it by any means.

I think I will show up to the USM office around here, and try to get a quick word in if I can. I've learned that people tend to give you 10 minutes if they can, and thus you repay them by saying thanks for your time, have a good day at the 5 minute mark.

If you do not mind, I have a few more simple questions. I do not wish to let off a cyclic burst of questions at you, this is just incredibly valuable to me, and I genuinely appreciate the time you've taken to answer this so far.

What is the situation with the reserves and USMS? I've seen both - Yeah they have no problem with it, and No - you can't serve in these two capacities at the same time. I've also heard anecdotal evidence about a Deputy Marshal in my hometown who was ARNG SF and a Marshall, who ended up smoke checking some fool who tried to mug a few lawyers coming out of the courthouse. It sounds fishy to me, and of course this happened 20 years ago or something alnog those lines, but the important thing to me there was that he was NGSF and a DUSM at the same time. Is this possible?

My last questions are - Based on the information I've given - and assuming I am not a shitbag and I interview well - Does someone like me have a real shot at being selected to move onto FLETC? lastly, What exactly is the process of getting hired - Once again, it's so conflicting what I read. Some say it's a short turn around, most things point to USAJOBS postings only once per year, sometimes I hear they give extensive background checks that take a long time, some sources say not so much, some say there is a polygraph, some say there is not. I have nothing to hide and still possess a active (but not current? or vice versa, I forget which is which) secret clearance - so I've had them probe into my background and I have nothing to hide, but I know that each layer of requirements adds more time on the front end of the process.

Thank you for your time and response once more.
 

RustyShackleford

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#7
I'm on the road for the next couple of days and don't have time for a good response right now. If I don't respond by Monday send me a PM as a reminder.
 

Kraut783

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#8
JohnBender,

Rusty has given you some great information. I am a local guy on a federal task force and have gotten to work with some DUSM's. I did have a DUSM in my reserve unit who deployed quite a bit, had no issues with his job, the district he worked for in Dallas was very supportive. Hell, even the FBI allows reserve military service now, didn't always.
 

BlondieB

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#9
John,

It looks like you received a fair amount of information but if you have any other unanswered questions, message me. I have a really great friend that would be able to answer any that you may have.

How is the MBA program going? I am working on my second Masters at the University of Texas.... oh the art of BS!

Take Care
 

Diamondback 2/2

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#10
I personally worked with a Reserve PSYOP Team Lead in Iraq who was a Deputy US Marshal on the civilian side. Good dude, and loved being with the USMS.
 
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JohnBender

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#15
Wow thank you everyone for the responses! For some reason my email notifications have not been popping up for this site, and I have been pulling 14 hour days in the dungeons of Ohio State, so I tend to only pay attention to the 25m target while I am knee-deep in case analysis and setting up regression models.

I am blown away by the responses here, and I am beyond humbled that you all are so willing to help and be informative. I do have a lot of questions, but for the sake of redundancy I will wait until RustyShackleford checks back in. I only hope that someone in the future can look at this thread and gain the information that is not easy to find elsewhere on the internet.

The ability to be both in the reserves AND in the Marshal Service is honestly the best news I have heard all week. It's been a hell of a week on my end, one of those ones that leaves you with a brain that is just white noise, and to be honest this little bit of warmth and good news is enough to make up for the rest.

The MBA is going well - I am making the most of it via multiple "officer" positions in highly visible intra-program organizations. I find that this degree is the most applicable thing I have ever taken, with a genuine feeling of knowing how the world around me works. Every day is compounding as well, where I do not feel that a single day is wasted in arbitrary work or knowledge. That being said, I had a little bit of a public outlash last week because I feel that there is an unusually high concentration of disingenuous, ego-centric, showboating and moral-superiority ridden attitudes that I just have a difficult time stomaching. This is prevalent in most if not all recognized MBA programs. I know a guy who's doing his at UT actually! Good guy.
 

amlove21

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#16
Wow thank you everyone for the responses! For some reason my email notifications have not been popping up for this site, and I have been pulling 14 hour days in the dungeons of Ohio State, so I tend to only pay attention to the 25m target while I am knee-deep in case analysis and setting up regression models.

I am blown away by the responses here, and I am beyond humbled that you all are so willing to help and be informative. I do have a lot of questions, but for the sake of redundancy I will wait until RustyShackleford checks back in. I only hope that someone in the future can look at this thread and gain the information that is not easy to find elsewhere on the internet.

The ability to be both in the reserves AND in the Marshal Service is honestly the best news I have heard all week. It's been a hell of a week on my end, one of those ones that leaves you with a brain that is just white noise, and to be honest this little bit of warmth and good news is enough to make up for the rest.

The MBA is going well - I am making the most of it via multiple "officer" positions in highly visible intra-program organizations. I find that this degree is the most applicable thing I have ever taken, with a genuine feeling of knowing how the world around me works. Every day is compounding as well, where I do not feel that a single day is wasted in arbitrary work or knowledge. That being said, I had a little bit of a public outlash last week because I feel that there is an unusually high concentration of disingenuous, ego-centric, showboating and moral-superiority ridden attitudes that I just have a difficult time stomaching. This is prevalent in most if not all recognized MBA programs. I know a guy who's doing his at UT actually! Good guy.
Um, excuse me but there is a sickening and apparent inaccuracy in your post.

You've been working in the dungeons of THE Ohio State University.

Please say it right. 8-)
 

JohnBender

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#17
Um, excuse me but there is a sickening and apparent inaccuracy in your post.

You've been working in the dungeons of THE Ohio State University.

Please say it right. 8-)
Only a Buckeye would care that much!

That's actually been a running joke since I got accepted into this program back in January of 2015. I was stationed...at a HQ command overseas, and I was the disgruntled old-fuck Corporal. I was so excited to get accepted into the program, that I announced " I got into Ohio State!" to which I was bombarded with "don't you mean THE Ohio State University" by quite literally the entire G3. It became such a running joke that it even made it into my fair winds and following seas EAS plaque.

I underlined it in red.

Funny thing is, I get so much shit nowadays because I keep saying I am an Ex-Marine. "MARINES ARE NOT EX ANYTHING"

Yeah, I agree... but "Former Marine" sounds like I got kicked out because I popped on a piss test; "Once A Marine Always A Marine" always sounds to me like I cannot let go of the past and cry into my EBay purchased Campaign Cover on a nightly basis. Yet Ex-Marine sounds like the description of a NetFlix original movie: "Ex-Marine John Bender tried to leave his violent past in the rear view mirror and live a normal life...until his wife and daughter were brutally murdered by a gang of Drug-Smuggling, Neo-Commuinst Clowns. Now this Ex-Marine is getting justice the only way he knows how - And no one's laughing"
 

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medicchick

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#18
Yet Ex-Marine sounds like the description of a NetFlix original movie: "Ex-Marine John Bender tried to leave his violent past in the rear view mirror and live a normal life...until his wife and daughter were brutally murdered by a gang of Drug-Smuggling, Neo-Commuinst Clowns. Now this Ex-Marine is getting justice the only way he knows how - And no one's laughing"
Put Tom Hardy and Daniel Day Lewis in it and you have a hit.
 
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