Mark Anderson

Mark Anderson

He was the commander of an Abrams tank while in the United States Army; he’s lead teams in the capture of dangerous fugitives; was deployed for hurricane relief efforts; and he even once guarded the Princess of Morocco while she shopped on 5th Avenue in New York.

Mark Anderson, son of Maury and Laurie Anderson was also born and raised in Bellevue. A 1995 graduate of Bellevue High School, Anderson has been serving his country as a U.S. Marshal for the past two decades.

The U.S. Marshals Service is the nation’s oldest and most versatile federal law enforcement agency. Federal marshals have served the country since 1789, often in unseen, but critical ways.

The Marshals Service occupies a uniquely central position in the federal justice system. It is the enforcement arm of the federal courts, involved in virtually every federal law enforcement initiative.

Presidentially appointed, U.S. Marshals direct the activities of 94 districts — one for each federal judicial district.

Anderson is based out of the Omaha, Nebraska district, and has had quite a few interesting experiences serving throughout the country.

“After I left the military in 1999 after serving four years, I found out that the U.S. Marshals Service was hiring people who serve, so I went through the process of applying while I was obtaining my degree from the University of Northern Iowa,” said Anderson. “Then, in 2001, I received a phone call that I was to report to the U.S. Marshals Training Academy.”

Anderson said his training, which took place in Brunswick, New Jersey, was extensive. He studied constitutional law, took an entire class in the Fourth Amendment, conducted physical training, defensive tactics, marksmanship, as well as de-escalation techniques.

“One of the most important things to learn was what I call ‘verbal judisu,’” said Anderson. “When you take someone into custody, most of the time they are angry, and you need to be able to verbally talk them down so things don’t get out of hand.”

Overall, the duties of the U.S. Marshals Service include protecting the federal judiciary, apprehending federal fugitives, managing and selling seized assets acquired by criminals through illegal activities, housing and transporting federal prisoners and operating the Witness Security Program.

Anderson has had his hand in many of these aspects of the job, including looking for and apprehending some of the country’s most dangerous fugitives.

He said when his teams go to apprehend a fugitive, they have investigated and monitored the location so that we know the person we are looking for is there. He said while some people cooperate, many barricade the door or try to hide.

“It’s interesting the places where people hide,” said Anderson, who said he has found fugitives in washers and dryers, refrigerators and once, even a fake dresser.

“There was one occasion where we knew the suspect was at the residence because we saw her outside and we saw her go back inside,” Anderson said. “When we got inside, we couldn’t find anyone. If we wouldn’t have known she was there, we may have given up.”

But then Anderson said he noticed something odd when he looked around a bedroom.

“There was a dresser that just didn’t look right. Something was off. There was a fake front on it and it was pushed up next to a closet door. Then we went inside the closet and saw there was a cutout in the wall inside that led straight to the dresser and the woman we were looking for was inside,” said Anderson. “You always have to be observant and check to see if things are real.”

Another time, perhaps the most interesting spot Anderson said he found someone hiding was inside an HVAC duct.

“The fugitive had crawled into the fan unit in the basement where the filter is located and hoisted herself up into the main air duct between the rafters.  When we found her, she almost couldn’t get back out,” recalled Anderson. “I thought we were going to have to get some tin snips and cut the ducting out.  Somehow, she did manage to back herself out though.  It took us a few hours to find her.  Again, we knew she was inside somewhere, so we didn’t give up looking. It took a while but eventually we figured it out.”

Of course, the U.S, Marshal duties for Anderson are not always about apprehending dangerous and clever federal fugitives. Sometimes he is there for the protection and safety of important people for the United States and for foreign governments as well.

Anderson often stood watch alongside the Secret Service for Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, who travels to Omaha, Nebraska often as his sister is a professor at Creighton University.

“We even took him to a Nebraska college football game a few times over in Lincoln,” said Anderson, who also recalled traveling to New York City when the United Nations held their annual meeting there several years ago with leaders from around the world attending.

“I was assigned to guard the Princess of Morroco,” said Anderson. “She did a lot of shopping on the stores on 5th Avenue.

And while guarding a Princess while shopping doesn’t seem so bad to some, there are also the natural disasters that Anderson has responded to over the decades.

“I was deployed to help out with hurricane Katrina relief efforts in New Orleans in 2005, and Hurricane Harvey in Houston in 2017,” said Anderson. “This involved helping out local law enforcement clear the thousands of 911 calls and providing security to city utility workers trying to get infrastructure functions back up and working.”

While not traveling across the country in service to the United States in a wide variety of roles, Anderson enjoys spending time with his wife Jenny and his six year-old daughter Catherine.

“We usually make it back to Bellevue about twice a year – during Christmas and for Heritage Days on the July 4 holiday,” said Anderson. “It’s good to come back here and relax.”

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The agency’s headquarters is just across the Potomac River from Washington, D.C.

Judicial Security

Since 1789, the U.S. Marshals Service has been the enforcement arm of the federal courts and has been responsible for protecting the federal judicial process.

The agency ensures the safe and secure conduct of judicial proceedings at approximately 440 locations in 94 federal court districts and provides protection for federal judges, other court officials, jurors, the visiting public and prisoners.

The Threat Management Center provides a national 24/7 response capability to review and respond to threats against the judiciary.

The Marshals also manage the security for federal court facilities, which is funded by the judicial branch’s court security appropriation. The agency oversees the daily operation and management of security services performed by more than 5,000 court security officers within the 94 U.S. District Courts and 13 circuits of the U.S. Court of Appeals.

Fugitive Operations

The U.S. Marshals Service is the federal government’s primary agency for fugitive investigations.

The Service arrests 302 fugitives every day on average.

U.S. Marshals task forces combine the efforts of federal, state and local law enforcement agencies to locate and arrest the most dangerous fugitives.

Task force officers are state and local police officers who receive special deputations with the U.S. Marshals. While on a task force, these officers can exercise U.S. Marshal authorities, such as crossing jurisdictional lines.

U.S. Marshals work with the international law enforcement community to apprehend fugitives abroad as well as to seek foreign fugitives living or residing in the United States.

The Marshals provide assistance, expertise and training on fugitive matters to federal, state, local and international agencies.

The U.S. Marshals “15 Most Wanted” fugitive program draws attention to some of the country’s most dangerous and high-profile fugitives. These fugitives tend to be career criminals with histories of violence, and they pose a significant threat to public safety.

Asset Forfeiture

The Department of Justice Asset Forfeiture Program has become a key part of the federal government’s efforts to combat major criminal activity by stripping criminals of their ill-gotten gains.

The U.S. Marshals Service plays a critical role by managing and selling assets seized and forfeited by DOJ.

Proceeds generated from asset sales are used to operate the AFP, compensate victims, supplement funding for law enforcement initiatives and support community programs.

The Marshals Service manages various types of assets, including real estate, commercial businesses, cash, financial instruments, vehicles, jewelry, art, antiques, collectibles, vessels and aircraft.

The Marshals manage the distribution of equitable sharing proceeds to state and local law enforcement agencies that participated in investigations leading to forfeiture as well as payments to victims of crime and innocent third parties.

Prisoner Operations

The U.S. Marshals Service is responsible for the safe and humane custody of more than 220,000 federal prisoners, beginning at the time of arrest and ending when prisoners are acquitted, arrive at a designated Federal Bureau of Prisons facility to serve a sentence or are otherwise ordered released from Marshals custody.

The agency provides housing, medical care and transportation for an average daily population of about 59,000 federal prisoners throughout the U.S.

The Marshals Service brings all individuals arrested on federal offenses before a U.S. magistrate or U.S. District Court judge for their initial court appearances. The court determines if they are to be released on bond or remanded into the custody of the Marshals Service to await trial.

The Marshals Service does not own or operate detention facilities but has agreements with more than 1,800 state and local governments for jail space. Prisoners can also be housed in 15 private facilities or BOP facilities.

Prisoner Transportation

The U.S. Marshals’ Justice Prisoner and Alien Transportation System (JPATS) transports prisoners between judicial districts and correctional institutions in the U.S.

JPATS is one of the largest transporters of prisoners in the world — handling 810 movements per day on average.

JPATS transports prisoners in federal custody between federal judicial districts to hearings, court appearances and detention facilities.

JPATS operates a network of aircraft, cars, vans and buses to accomplish these coordinated movements.

JPATS operates a fleet of aircraft to move prisoners over long distances more economically and with higher security than commercial airlines.

JPATS is the only government-operated, regularly-scheduled passenger airline in the nation.

Witness Security

The U.S. Marshals Service operates the federal Witness Security Program, sometimes referred to as the “Witness Protection Program.”

The Witness Security Program provides for the security, safety and health of government witnesses and their authorized family members, whose lives are in danger as a result of their cooperation with the U.S. government.

Witnesses and their families typically get new identities with documentation.

The Witness Security Program has successfully protected an estimated 18,400 participants from intimidation and retribution since the program began in 1971.

he offices of U.S. Marshal and Deputy Marshals were created more than 200 years ago by the first Congress in the Judiciary Act of 1789, the same legislation that established the federal judicial system. The Marshals were given extensive authority to support the federal courts within their judicial districts and to carry out all lawful orders issued by judges, Congress, or the President.

The Marshals and their Deputies served the subpoenas, summonses, writs, warrants, and other process issued by the courts, made all the arrests, and handled all the prisoners. They also disbursed the money.

The Marshals paid the fees and expenses of the court clerks, U.S. Attorneys, jurors, and witnesses. They rented the courtrooms and jail space and hired the bailiffs, criers, and janitors. They made sure the prisoners were present, the jurors were available, and the witnesses were on time.

But this was only a part of what the Marshals did. When George Washington set up his first administration and the first Congress began passing laws, both quickly discovered an inconvenient gap in the constitutional design of the government. It had no provision for a regional administrative structure stretching throughout the country. Both the Congress and the executive branch were housed at the national capitol. No agency was established or designated to represent the federal government's interests at the local level. The need for a regional organization quickly became apparent. Congress and the President solved part of the problem by creating specialized agencies, such as customs and revenue collectors, to levy the tariffs and taxes. Yet, there were numerous other jobs that needed to be done. The only officers available to do them were the Marshals and their Deputies.

Thus, the Marshals also provided local representation for the federal government within their districts. They took the national census every 10 years through 1870. They distributed Presidential proclamations, collected a variety of statistical information on commerce and manufacturing, supplied the names of government employees for the national register, and performed other routine tasks needed for the central government to function effectively. Over the past 200 years, Congress and the President also have called on the Marshals to carry out unusual or extraordinary missions, such as registering enemy aliens in time of war, capturing fugitive slaves, sealing the American border against armed expeditions from foreign countries, and swapping spies with the former Soviet Union.