Candidates see rigorous training before becoming marshals
Deputy Marshal Buddy Clinton adjusts his gear as he prepares to go out on patrol. LANI HANSEN/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
Cherokee Nation Marshal Service vehicles are all marked with a seven-star logo to represent the tribe’s seven clans and the words “Marshal Service” on the driver and passenger doors. LANI HANSEN/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
Deputy Marshal Buddy Clinton begins his patrolling duties. Marshals work in shifts but are on patrol 24 hours a day, seven days a week. LANI HANSEN/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
TAHLEQUAH – The Cherokee Nation Marshal Services is a tribal law enforcement agency that has 33 deputy marshals who cover the Cherokee Nation’s jurisdiction, which covers all or part of 14 counties in northeast Oklahoma.
The CNMS received about 40 applications for deputy marshal this past year and has an average of about 30 to 60 applications in a hiring cycle.
“They go through physicals, mental health (testing) and…a psychological evaluation,” Marshal Shannon Buhl said. “They will do their weapons qualification, get sprayed with OC (oleoresin capsicum or pepper) spray and get Taser-certified.”
Deputy marshals can only work “in house” and not on the street until they receive an academy date. The academy, known as FLETC, is the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center. It is in Artesian, New Mexico, and is four months long.
Also to become a deputy marshal, one must study a policy manual that is about 600 pages long and be tested on it.
“Once they go there (FLETC) they go for four months. They get trained and certified, but they come back and do four-month FTO (training), which is Field Training Officer. This means they go with a training sergeant for four months and are evaluated every shift during the four-month period,” Buhl said. “So it could be a year from the day we hire somebody until they become a deputy marshal.”
Following all the trainings, deputy marshals are able to work and patrol on any given shift depending on how many people are on a shift. Marshals work in shifts but are on patrol 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Also, before candidates are hired they must go through CN Human Resources to see if they qualify, can pass a background check and meet other prerequisites. From there they take physical fitness tests where the top test scores are picked by the trainers before moving on to written exams. Applicants must score a 70 on to be considered. Those with the top exam scores will move on to the sergeants’ board that is made up of five sergeants and a lieutenant who ask the applicants questions. It is the first time applicants are interviewed, after the physical fitness tests and written exams. The next interview period occurs after the sergeants pick who can move to the command level board for a two-hour interview. The command board determines if the applicant is a good fit, and they try to gage an applicant’s stress aptitude.
After the sergeants make their decisions on whom to hire, the names they choose are submitted to Human Resources for a complete background checks. If they pass, Human Resources will then present applicants job offers.
The CNMS has various special operations groups. Before applying for special operations, deputy marshals have to be on the job for a year.
A special operations team is similar to a SWAT team, Buhl said. The team performs hostage rescue, high risk warrant service, can deal with an armed and barricaded gunman and has “direct action” teams that can work on issues affecting communities such as gangs.
“We can put that team in there and concentrate on those issues,” Buhl said.
The second group is a dive team. They do underwater evidence recovery and body recovery.
“We usually have about half a dozen calls for the dive team a year and have around 50 calls for the special operations team,” Buhl said.
The marshals also have a Search and Rescue team that can search for lost or injured people.
The CNMS is located in next to the Tribal Complex. For more information, call 918-207-3800.