History of Judicial Marshals in Maine
Security for courthouses in the State of Maine was traditionally provided by the sheriff's department in each of Maine's 16 counties. Over time, some sheriff's departments stopped providing court security services for the State of Maine. In the mid-1980's, the Judicial Branch began employing its first court security officers at the District Court in Lewiston.
In the 1990's additional court security positions were created. In 2002, The Office of Court Security Services consisted of a director, a coordinator, and a southern regional supervisor. By 2003, the Judicial Branch began assuming even more responsibility for court security which resulted in additional full time court security officer positions.
In 2005, the Office of Court Security Services was renamed and a new command structure was adopted. The Office of Judicial Marshals consisted of : a marshal, a major, a captain, and five regional sergeants.
In 2006, entry screening became to be a priority in Maine courthouses, and with the support of the Legislature more full time deputy judicial marshal positions were added.
Currently, the office of Judicial Marshals staff provides security in twelve of Maine's sixteen counties. The other four, Kennebec, Lincoln, Penobscot and Somerset have security provided through a contractual agreement with the respective sheriff.
Deputy judicial marshals receive a comprehensive training program that embraces adult learning principles, as well as, best practices in law enforcement. The Basic Judicial Marshal School is a forty hour week long school that is a legal mandate during the first year of employment. The curriculum consists of topics in court security, dignitary protection, domestic violence, explosive detection and identification, jury management and much more. These course are taught by experienced experts from the U.S. Marshal Service, Maine State Police, Attorney Generals' Office, and members of the Office of Judicial Marshals. Within the second year of employment officers are provided a two and a half day, Advanced Judicial Marshal School. This school provides more in depth training on some of the basic topics taught in the basic school and provides the officer with better tools for situational awareness as well as the need for continuous physical improvement. All training is provided in conjunction with the Maine Criminal Justice Academy.
Safety and security in Maine courts has improved by increasing personnel, raising the awareness of our colleagues, introducing more effective training strategies, and by technological advancements which are evident in Maine's newer courthouses.
There are currently plans to introduce specialized teams of deputy judicial marshals for specific assignments within the Judicial Branch as well as other exciting opportunities for deputy judicial marshals employed by The Office of Judicial Marshals. The future is bright for the Office of Judicial Marshals.