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For Immediate Release

September 24, 2012 Historian Dave Turk, Office of Public Affairs (202) 307-9114
The U.S. Marshals Honor 223 Years of Service to America

Washington – It is with pride that the U.S. Marshals Service, and Director Stacia A. Hylton, celebrate the 223rd birthday of the agency today.

On Sept. 24, 1789, the oldest federal law enforcement entity in the United States was created when the office of the U.S. Marshal USMS Sealwas created along with the federal court system. Unique in its origins, the office was established for the primary purpose of law enforcement.

The Federal Judiciary Act of Sept. 24, 1789, provided for an appointive U.S. Marshal and assisting Deputy U.S. Marshals, “…whose duty it shall be to attend the district and circuit courts when sitting therein …and to execute throughout the district, all lawful precepts directed.” The Act also grants the authority to special deputize.

In President George Washington’s appointment letter to the original thirteen appointees, he stated, “The high importance of the Judicial System in our National Government, made it an indispensable duty to select such Characters … as would discharge their respective trusts with honor to themselves and advantage to their Country.”

In their many changes with personnel and duties, from taking the Federal Census from 1790 to 1870, to keeping order within the territories in the Old West, and ensuring desegregation of educational institutions in the Civil Rights Era South, U.S. Marshals always overcame adversity and exceeded society’s expectations. The U.S. Marshals continue to excel in their many functions, including federal judicial security; fugitive and sex offender investigation and apprehension; federal witness security; federal prisoner transportation; and managing the distribution of criminal assets.

Additional information about the U.S. Marshals Service can be found at


America’s Oldest Federal Law Enforcement Agency