Our principal function at the United States Marshals Service is protecting the federal judiciary. We’ve been doing this since 1789, and we’ve been here in New Mexico since 1851, when our state’s first territorial marshal was sworn in. As a native New Mexican and as our state’s U.S. marshal, I have been honored to work in partnership with amazing people from law enforcement agencies throughout New Mexico for the past 13 years and in Chicago and the nation for 11 years before that.
And yes, we are the nation’s oldest federal law enforcement agency, but more than that, we are part of this community. We live here. We are raising our families here.
The federal courthouses throughout our state, including the Domenici Courthouse here in Albuquerque, are the symbol of federal justice in our community. We are here as the protectors of these courthouses and those who serve in them. That protection includes the citizens who enter these courthouses and expect justice. Our USMS Director Donald Washington said last week, “The institution of justice is represented by our courthouse.”
We at the USMS are here to ensure peaceful protesters are protected and to enforce federal law. We all take an oath to uphold the Constitution, and we are bound to honor everyone’s constitutional rights, regardless of any differences or any personal allegiances. It is our intention at the United States Marshals Service to maintain and promote peace right here in New Mexico. As we work to do this every day, we ask you, our community, to be with us in this promise. We have an opportunity here to show the rest of the country that we are a peaceful Albuquerque, a peaceful New Mexico. Let’s show the country what we’re made of. We are not ordinary. We come from generations of families who have blended together and, by very nature of our unique culture and heritage, have embraced individuality.
Our DOJ counterparts, the FBI, DEA, ATF, CBP and the United States Attorneys Office, work with us in partnership with practically every local, county and state law enforcement agency throughout New Mexico. We are part of something that provides a unique mechanism to collaborate in a way that reinforces federal efforts in the areas of our communities that need it most. We get this direction from our local law enforcement partners right here in New Mexico. They don’t report to us, they work with us – and we work with them. We do this, every day, working side by side.
Millions of dollars in federal funding have been designated for New Mexico over the years through federal task forces. It is a formula for cooperation and it works. And from it stems enhanced resources for our communities. But the best thing that comes from all of this is relationships. Our brother and sister agencies are not strangers to us. They are our friends, and we are successful because of them.
We at the Marshals Service are forever optimistic. We are firm believers in the Constitution and the value of upholding it. We also bask in the honor of protecting it. In my experience as a law enforcement officer, first as an FBI Special Agent for 22 years and now as the U.S. marshal, I have been humbled by the cooperative spirit of law enforcement. We stand together every day and we, like you, want peace and justice for everyone.
We are the Justice League, the New Mexico Justice League. The ones who get our sack of Hatch green chile – although some of us prefer the Lemitar – just like you. We are the ones, who like you, brave the 4 a.m. crowds every October to ensure our kids get the best view at the Balloon Fiesta. We are Lobos and Aggies. We sit next to you at the Isotopes games and in all places of worship. Our kids go to the same schools and our parents and grandparents are enjoying the same beautiful New Mexico sunsets.
We believe in our community. We believe in Albuquerque. We believe in you, New Mexico.
So yes, we are the “feds,” and we are proud to carry that badge of honor and equally proud to bear the honorable burden and responsibility that come with it. We know you are strong and ready to show the rest of the country that we all love our city and our state and want to express ourselves in a way that honors it and preserves its character and amazing reputation.