WYANDOTTE COUNTY, Kan. – The U.S. Marshals Service is a federal department that partners with state and local authorities across the United States. One entity, the Kansas Fugitive Apprehension Task Force, is responsible for hunting down alleged violent fugitives.
On Tuesday, the task force went after five or six arrests, which involved several different agencies including ICE, Overland Park Police, Kansas Department of Corrections, Kansas City Kansas Police, Johnson County Sheriff's Office and Wyandotte County Sheriff's Office.
Deputy Marshal Zac said they are always on the move.
In fact, they used cross-communication with aviation and law enforcement authorities in Dallas to take in one suspect who they got word was on an airplane.
"Communication is key. If we weren't all working together, the job wouldn't get done," explained Zac, who did not want to use his last name.
Supervisory U.S. Marshal Toby Reed is one director of the task force. He was running point on a takedown at a job in Olathe.
"I'll cover the East side. Zac, if you'll take the West side," explained Reed, in the briefing and planning period of an early operation. "We're coming in from here."
The task force has jurisdiction on both sides of the state line. They can even make arrests on tribal land like the 7th Street Casino.
"We can go anywhere in the metro area including Missouri. We help out a lot of agencies," explained Detective Michael Simmons, Wyandotte County Sheriff's Office.
Reed also tells us sometimes police departments and sheriff's offices don't have the resources to devote the entire force to look for one specific criminal. The task force is often sent to track down offenders with parole violations. Many of Tuesday's cases are allegedly linked to a large drug organization.
As Deputy Marshal Zac goes after the first target he said you have to have a little bit of fear.
"The day you stop being afraid of arresting these guys is the day you need to call it quits," explained Zac.
Luckily, the group is able to get the suspect into custody in about 10 minutes. They inform the work place and the human resources department leads them to the man they are looking for, who is brought out of the business in handcuffs.
Task force members also handcuff the fugitive's feet. The man said, "I'm not going anywhere for a while," before being put into the police vehicle.
Reed explains sometimes it takes weeks or months to locate a target.
"A lot of the guys we look for don't want to be found," said Reed, so his team uses surveillance, sources and leads to find their whereabouts.
Special Agent Gene Arnold with the Kanas Department of Corrections is dealing with one such case.
He is leading point on one investigation, looking for a suspect allegedly not checking in with his parole officer.
He and the task force go to the offender's father's home, the same address where he should be living.
"You haven't talked to him?" said Arnold. The father quickly responds "No."
"So he is not here, right?" said Arnold. The father once again responding "No."
Questioning like that helped them on Friday. That's when the District of Kansas U.S. Marshals Service and the Kansas City Kansas Police Department worked together to take large amounts of drugs and guns from one suspect. They also recovered 22 illegal guns.
It's satisfaction like that, that keeps Zac in the Saddle.
"You can say because our team was out here today, there are people who aren't on the street tonight," said Zac.
Nationally, the Marshals Service is responsible for about 120,000 arrests each year, in conjunction with local law enforcement.