Four Fayette County Sheriff’s Office (FCSO) deputies were sworn in Wednesday as special deputy U.S. marshals, and will be contributing to the U.S. Marshals Southern Ohio Fugitive Apprehension Strike Team (SOFAST).
SOFAST is a multi-jurisdictional law enforcement organization created to arrest the most violent felons in the Southern District of Ohio. On Wednesday afternoon, Peter Tobin, the U.S. Marshal for the southern district, visited the local annex building to swear in FCSO Chief Deputy Andy Bivens, Sgt. Chuck Kyle, deputy Andy Parks and deputy Howard Wood.
“You’re doing the most dangerous work there is in law enforcement,” Tobin told the FCSO deputies. “That says a lot about you. When you get a real bad guy off the street, there’s nothing more rewarding than that….nothing more important.”
SOFAST strike teams are headquartered in Columbus, Dayton and Cincinnati. They are comprised of agents, officers and deputies from multiple federal, state and local law enforcement agencies. Each member of SOFAST is deputized as a special deputy U.S. marshal, thereby giving each member the ability to travel in an effort to apprehend felony criminal offenders.
“We rely on law enforcement to augment the task force and give us hopefully enough people to make it safe to go out,” said Tobin. “For these guys, this is on a volunteer basis. Our work is based on warrants brought by counties and warrants filed by the U.S. Marshals Service. Very seldom do we do anything less than a dangerous felony. Last year, we shattered all the records and locked up 2,700. That’s absolutely astounding to me.”
Bivens said he and the other three deputies are proud to assist the U.S. Marshals Service in any way they can.
“When we’re called upon by the marshal, we’ll do everything we can to provide that assistance,” Bivens said. “This is an indispensable collaboration and a great thing. This is two different offices of law enforcement working together and getting bad guys off the street.”
The U.S. Marshals Service — the first federal law enforcement agency in the United States — occupies a uniquely central position in the federal justice system. It is the enforcement arm of the federal courts, involved in virtually every federal law enforcement initiative. Presidentially-appointed U.S. marshals direct the activities of 94 districts — one for each federal judicial district. It is the federal government’s primary agency for fugitive investigations.
Reach Ryan Carter at 740-313-0352 or on Twitter @rywica