The U.S. Marshals Service is severely understaffed, and the number of threats directed at members of the judiciary has almost doubled, putting the safety of the agency’s protectees—federal judges and prosecutors—“at risk,” according to a newly-released security audit from the Justice Department’s Inspector General. “We concluded that the USMS’s resources and proactive threat detection capabilities are inadequate to fully meet its protective services obligations to judges and other USMS-protected persons,” states the report, which says the Marshals Service needs to add some 1,200 deputies to its roster to function adequately.
The report said the USMS had identified “weaknesses in its judicial security capabilities” but was struggling to fund enhancements due to “competing priorities.” This was “particularly concerning” given that security incidents jumped 89 percent from 2016 to 2019. Last year, a gunman dressed as a FedEx driver showed up at the New Jersey home of Judge Esther Salas and fatally shot her son Daniel when he opened the door.