Training Program for US Marshals

The U.S. Marshals Service (USMS), which operates through the Department of Justice, is the oldest federal law enforcement agency and arguably the most complex. The USMS operates with a $1.186 billion budget and employs more than 3,900 deputy U.S. marshals and criminal investigators.

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In fiscal year 2012, the USMS arrested more than 123,000 fugitives, received more than 232,000 prisoners, and managed $2.4 billion worth of sized assets. Given the sheer size of USMS operations, it comes as no surprise that there is a well-defined and established training program for U.S. marshals.

U.S. Marshal Training Preparation

The job of a U.S. marshal is a highly demanding one, both physically and mentally. The USMS stresses the importance of proper conditioning for new hires before they begin the agency’s formal training program.

Because the USMS training program includes many hours of strenuous physical conditioning and intensive defensive tactics training, all students are encourage to arrive at basic training in excellent, physical condition. Specifically, students will be expected to do the following before arriving to basic training:

  • Become accustomed to proper hydrating techniques due to the warm and humid climate of Georgia
  • Become accustomed to running distances from 1.5 to 10 miles in length
  • Become accustomed to “periodic and repeated vigorous” calisthenics
  • Become accustomed to other strenuous conditioning activities, such as obstacle courses and sprints
  • Be prepared to pass the final physical fitness test before graduating

Students can measure their progress when preparing for basic training by reviewing the fitness standards for men and the fitness standards for women.

U.S. Marshal Training: Basic Training Academy

Basic training for the USMS is conducted at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC), which is located in Glynco, Georgia.

All new deputy U.S. marshals must participate in 17½ weeks of basic training at the FLETC, which is instructed by both FLETC and USMS instructors. Training during this time is focused on all areas of the USMS and the job U.S. deputy marshals will perform. Subjects and topics covered during basic training include:

  • Defensive tactics
  • Courtroom evidence and procedure
  • Firearms training
  • Physical conditioning
  • First aid
  • Driver training
  • Prisoner search and restraint
  • Computer training
  • Officer survival
  • Legal training
  • Building entry and search
  • High-threat trials
  • Surveillance
  • Search and seizure
  • Protective service training

USMS basic training includes a total of 7 exams that are given throughout the program. Students must pass all exams with a minimum score of at least 70 percent. Students will also participate in a number of pass/fail practical exercises that display their knowledge of concepts they have learned.

Training Program for US Marshals: DEO and AEO Training Requirements

Detention enforcement officers (DEOs) and aviation enforcement officers (AEO) must also complete a specialized course of training.

DEOs, who are responsible for transporting prisoners, prisoner processing, and conducting searches, among others, must complete a 3-week training program at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC) in Glynco, Georgia. This training program includes firearms proficiency, as all DEOs are expected to carry a firearm while performing their job duties.

The FLETC training program is focused on being able to successfully perform DEO job duties, which may include:

  • Possessing the physical stamina required for resisting assault cases
  • Running long distances when needed to reach the scene of an emergency
  • Resisting intruders
  • Withstanding extreme weather conditions
  • Working alongside inmates in confined areas
  • Sitting in vehicles for extended periods of time
  • Standing for extended periods of time

The AEO training program is similar in design to the DEO, as these U.S. marshals are responsible for transporting prisoners via aircraft, conducting searches, and engaging in prisoner management, which often includes responding to individual or group disturbances and ensuring that all documents are in order.

Annual and Ongoing Training Programs

U.S. marshals must participate in a number of annual and ongoing training programs, including mission and development training. This may include study in a number of areas, depending on the mission associated with specific positions:

  • Court security
  • Protective investigations
  • Prisoner handling
  • Witness security
  • Detention enforcement
  • Operational management training
  • Firearms instructor
  • Hazardous response
  • Basic instructor training
  • Fugitive investigations
  • Asset forfeiture

Annual retraining is an important component of a U.S. marshal career:

    • Firearms qualifications: All employees are required to complete weapons qualifications every 6 months, which include:
      • Primary duty handgun qualification
      • Secondary/off-duty handgun qualification
      • Rifle qualification
      • Shotgun qualification
      • Submachine gun/semi-automatic 9mm carbine (if applicable)


  • Less lethal devices qualifications: Employees are required to complete less lethal device qualifications annually, which include:
    • OC spray
    • Expandable baton
    • Electronic restraint devices
    • Electronic immobilization devices (stunguns)

All deputy marshals are required to attend the Advanced Deputy U.S. Marshal Training Program 7 years after the completion of basic training, while DEOs and AEOs are required to attend the Advanced DEO (ADEO) Training Program within 5 years of completing basic training.

All administrative officers, supervisors, division specialists and program managers are required to complete the Supervisory Leadership Development Program within 18 months of assuming the position.

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