Remarks as prepared for delivery
Thank you, Rod, for that kind introduction and thank you for your outstanding leadership as Deputy Attorney General and your nearly 30 years of service to this Department.
Thank you also to Acting Deputy Director David Anderson for your 21 years of service to the Marshals Service, and ATF Acting Director Tom Brandon.
Thank you all for being here.
Thank you also to Sgt. Smith for that stirring rendition of the National Anthem.
I also want to thank Monsignor Criscuolo for the invocation—and thank you for saying the Blue Mass every year. It’s important to pause and consider the really important things in life.
But above all, thank you to the stars of the show: our award winners.
I have been all around the world, and I firmly believe that no nation has a finer group of law officers than the United States of America.
And of all of our law enforcement agencies, the Marshals are the most versatile and the oldest federal agency in American law enforcement.
Marshals and their deputies are—now and 24 hours a day— in every corner of America, working courageously and faithfully to protect this nation and our people.
You have the broadest mandate and the broadest authority of any federal law enforcement agency.
I’m told that’s why there’s an old saying in Marshals training: if it hasn’t been done by federal law enforcement before—then it’s your job.
In fact, for much of our nation’s history, federal law enforcement in most parts of the country was represented by two people: the U.S. Attorney and the U.S. Marshal, which was the most important. That was it. Marshals were the face of federal law enforcement.
Marshals brought peace and order to the Wild West—and they stood guard during the Civil Rights Movement.
And from the beginning of this country till today, Marshals and their deputies have been catching fugitives on the run and keeping our courthouses, our judges, and our witnesses safe.
It has often been said that the independent judiciary protects the rule of law in this country. That is true—but the Marshals Service protects the independent judiciary.
In some countries, judges can be threatened or intimidated into changing their rulings.
Witnesses and prisoners can be kidnapped or disappeared. The rule of law descends into the rule of the mob.
Not in this country. Our judges know that they can follow the law wherever it leads—because they’ve got the Marshals keeping them safe.
And today you’re more effective than ever. Just in the last decade, U.S. Marshals have arrested more than one million violent fugitives. You have recovered hundreds of missing children.
You have safely transported more than 2.5 million detainees and inmates, and protected our communities by completing more than 400,000 compliance checks on registered sex offenders.
You respond to any challenge. The President emphasized border enforcement, and we determined to increase prosecutions of illegal entrants. The increase was 86 percent. That meant more court appearances for more defendants. I called David Anderson to tell him that we would need many more deputies at the border.
He replied that he had thought about it, and that the Marshalls had not fallen behind and would not fall behind. You have fully met that challenge.
You’re a force-multiplier for our state and local partners, especially in our Fugitive Task Forces. In 2017, U.S. Marshals Service-led fugitive task forces arrested more than 80,000 fugitives across America.
That is incredible work.
And you do these things at great risk – at the risk even of your lives. You know it’s dangerous. You and your families know that only too well.
It takes courage to wear a badge for even one day. It takes courage to chase a fugitive down, to seize a building from a drug dealer, or be prepared to take a bullet for the person you’re guarding.
Fugitives are generally not fleeing unpaid parking tickets or littering charges. The kind of criminal who is likely to be a fugitive from justice and get on the Marshal’s list is often violent and desperate.
And yet you chase them down every single day. The Marshals arrest more fugitives than all other agencies combined.
It is the honor of a lifetime to work for an agency like that. I hope that you never take it for granted. Never lose a sense of wonder about your high and moral calling. It is an honor for me to have a leadership responsibility for your Service.
Yours is a storied law enforcement agency—but let’s remember something. The historic badge alone is not magic.
The reason the Marshals Service has been so effective is you—the people who step forward to serve.
Nearly 3,800 Deputy U.S. Marshals and over 1,400 administrative staff, do exemplary work every day.
And you—our award winners—are the best of the best.
This Department is proud of you. The President is proud of you. And this nation is proud of you.
And so I want to thank you all for the exemplary service that we are honoring today. Know this: you have our thanks and we have your back.