Staffing shortage leaves US Marshals unable to serve warrants to hundreds of wanted fugitives

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FOX 5 has learned hundreds of warrants for wanted fugitives are not being served because of a manpower shortage within the U.S. Marshals Service.

Warrant squads are not getting the personnel they need because courthouse and prisoner security are the top priority. It is an issue that has been an ongoing problem for at least a year or more.

Robert Turner, the chief marshal at the federal courthouse in the District of Columbia, said in a statement:

"United States Marshals Service D.C. District Court diligently pursues fugitives with available resources. The district has approximately 600 active federal parole warrants and three hundred Class1 warrants, meaning fugitives for which the USMS has primary apprehension responsibility.

"The Marshals Service, including District Court, could do more with additional deputy US marshals and support staff. We are working hard to mitigate threats to the public by maximizing the resources we have and with effective collaboration with our various law enforcement partners. Reducing the number of wanted fugitives reduces this risk to public safety."

The U.S. Marshals are responsible for security at ten federal courthouses in Washington D.C. as well as protecting judges, juries and witnesses.

According to Jason Wojdylo with the U.S. Marshals Service chapter of the Federal Managers Association, headquarters staffing in Washington has taken a priority over staffing of field offices around the country.

At the federal courthouse in the District, providing security in the courtrooms for judges and prisoners is taking priority over staffing the warrant squads that look for the fugitives that judges want to see in their courtrooms.

In fact, on any given day, staffing will be so tight at the federal courthouse that there are no deputy marshals out looking for fugitives.

Some of the unserved outstanding warrants come from the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and federal judges.

The U.S. Marshals Service is also responsible for providing security for the Department of Justice special counsel, grand jury and the deputy attorney general.