U.S. Marshal Service talks to criminal justice students

Michael Lewis

The U.S. Marshal’s Service came to Kent State Friday afternoon to discuss employment opportunities and job descriptions in federal law enforcement.

Cathy Jones, U.S. Marshal assistant chief deputy, spoke to students studying criminal justice as a guest speaker for instructor Jim Owens’ Realities of Police Work class.

“If you go into criminal justice and you’re using drugs, you need to stop,” Jones said. “If you used hard-core drugs, like LSD, mushrooms, crack or cocaine, you will not be hired. If you smoked marijuana less than 20 times, you are still eligible. Don’t ask me why our magic number is 20.”

Government agents conduct background checks to investigate applicants, going back to the eighth grade, questioning the sources available to determine the habits and behavior of prospective employees. If investigators find out applicants failed to disclose criminal activity or past drug history, applicants are barred from employment and face fines as well as possible prison time.

“Thousands want to be in law enforcement,” Jones said. “We look at the whole picture when it comes to being selected. Realize there is a bigger world out there than what’s on this campus. If you go to a party and do drugs, are you going to have credibility when it comes to getting hired?”

More than likely, federal employees relocate to fill positions of need throughout the country. The big push now is service in the Southwest-border states, Jones said. Spanish speakers are in high demand.

“What’s the biggest decision you can make as a law enforcement officer?” Jones asked her audience.

“Pulling the trigger,” the class responded.

“But can you shoot to kill?” Jones asked.

The class responded with silence.

Jones, who said it only takes four pounds of pressure to pull the trigger, has aimed her gun at suspects twice in her career. Each time, she controlled the situation without discharging her firearm.

Chris Cogswell, National Guard soldier and junior criminal justice major, said he enjoyed the presentation and was glad to receive answers to his questions about service as an Air Marshal.

“I’m considering deployment and needed to know if I would have a job upon return from service” Cogswell said.

Cogswell found out his job will await his return from active duty.

Contact safety reporter Michael Lewis at [email protected].