Fugitive investigations are primarily handled by the United States Marshals Service (USMS), the federal government’s enforcement arm of the federal judiciary. In FY2010 alone, the USMS were responsible for the capture of more than 36,000 federal fugitive felons and for clearing more than 39,000 federal felony warrants.
The U.S. Marshals Service operates out of West Virginia through two, separate districts:
Southern District of West Virginia: The Southern District of West Virginia consists of the state’s southern counties, which include the cities of Bluefield, Charleston, Parkersburg, Lewisburg, Beckley, and Huntington.
Northern District of West Virginia: The Northern District of West Virginia consists of the state’s northern counties, which include the cities of Clarksburg, Martinsburg, Wheeling, Fairmont, and Elkins.
How to Become a U.S. Marshal in West Virginia: The Hiring and Training Process
Individuals that meet the minimum requirements for employment can explore career opportunities with the U.S. Marshals Service in West Virginia:
- Must be a United States citizen
- Must be between the ages of 21 and 36
- Must possess a valid driver’s license
- Must be in top, physical condition
- Must meet the requirements at the GL-7 federal level
Meeting the requirements of the GL-7 federal level (the level at which all U.S. marshals are hired) requires, at a minimum, a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university with superior academic achievement or at least one year of specialized experience equivalent to the GL-5 level; specialized experience refers to experience in criminal investigations and law enforcement.
During an open recruitment period, all qualified candidates must complete a two-part competitive exam, which includes an assessment of situational judgment (Part 1) and a writing sample (Part 2). Both parts of the exam are standardized and are administered by the Office of Personnel Management at 15 different locations across the country. The USMS lists the locations where individuals can take the exam on the job announcement.
From there, qualified candidates must complete a physical fitness assessment, a panel interview, and a background investigation, among others.
Training for the U.S. marshals includes a 17 ½ week program that takes place at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center in Glynco, Georgia.
US Marshal Task Force Operations in West Virginia
Like their counterparts across the country, U.S. marshals in West Virginia carry out federal fugitive investigations through a number of task forces and special missions/programs, including:
Cops United Felony Fugitive Enforcement Division (CUFFED): Headquartered in the USMS’s Southern District of West Virginia in Charleston, CUFFED is focused on the fugitive investigations and apprehensions of individuals wanted in the West Virginia. In addition to the USMS, a number of partnering agencies work through CUFFED, including the Charleston Police Department, the Putnam County Sheriff’s Department, the South Charleston Police Department, and the Clay County Sheriff’s Department.
Eastern Panhandle Drug and Violent Crimes Task Force: The Eastern Panhandle Drug and Violent Crimes Task Force, which is part of the USMS’s Northern District of Virginia, investigates drug and violent crimes in the tri-county area, including Berkeley, Morgan, and Jefferson Counties.
Mountain State Fugitive Task Force: The Mountain State Fugitive Task Force focuses on arresting persons with outstanding state and/or federal warrants. It is part of a joint effort that is designed to increase public safety through the location and apprehension of fugitives.