Monday, December 17, 2001
Court Plaque Honors Former County Marshal’s Department
By NICK YULICO, Staff Writer
Sheriff Lee Baca Friday dedicated a plaque honoring the former Los Angeles County Marshal’s Department’s many years of service in the courts of Los Angeles.
The plaque near the main entrance to the Airport Courthouse honors the men and women who worked for the department from 1952 until its merger with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department in 1994.
“These dedicated men and women provided enforcement services to the Courts, and their presence in and out of the courtrooms contributed greatly to the administration of justice for all in Los Angeles County,” the plaque reads.
In 1994, the county Board of Supervisors voted to merge the two departments after a study found the merger would bring substantial savings, former Deputy Marshal Roy M. Pugh, now chief of court services for the Sheriff’s Department, said.
Before the merger, the Marshal’s Department was the fourth largest law enforcement agency in the county, following the Sheriff’s Department, Los Angeles Police Department, and Long Beach Police Department.
At the time of the merger, it contained around 900 members, who solely worked within the courts, Pugh said.
“We were a small family back then,” Pugh said. “I still remember that family. There was not a marshal I did not know.”
Since the merger, in which all former members of the Marshal’s Department were allowed to work in the Sheriff’s Department, many of the old deputy marshals have taken on new duties as sheriff’s deputies and have adjusted to a larger department, Pugh said.
No longer are they just responsible for maintaining courtroom security, custody control, and serving bench warrants. Now, they are out in the field as deputies and have the opportunity to become lieutenants and captains of the Sheriff’s Department, which contains 15,000 more members than the old Marshal’s Department, Pugh said.
“The top officer of the courts will always be a former marshal as long as I’m sheriff,” Baca said.
“None of us could have the freedoms we have without the marshals and deputy sheriffs,” Baca said.
After saying that an America without laws would be like Afghanistan, Baca commended the courts for “holding laws in the dearest of ideas,” and commended the marshals for laying their lives on the line to protect the courts.
The deputy sheriffs, like the former deputy marshals, are always in the dangerous situation of handling bad criminals who bring their problems into the courtrooms, Baca said.
Copyright 2001, Metropolitan News Company