The Marshal's Office is the law-enforcement arm of the Trinity Superior Court.
Mission Statement of The Marshal's Office
It is our mission to provide a safe environment for all court proceedings; to protect the dignity of court proceedings; to provide a safe and secure building for all who enter; and to enforce court orders, including warrants of arrest and the service of civil papers for the County of Trinity.
It is our mission to provide prompt, efficient, and impartial service to the courts and the citizens of Trinity County; and to assist other law enforcement agencies as needed.
We will be honest, ethical, and at all times above reproach. We will be held accountable for our actions, both good and bad.
We are the best at what we do. We are considered leaders and models in court security, and we shall always strive to be innovative in our field and exceed the expectations of those we serve.
We will respect all individuals. We will recognize the dignity of all persons and celebrate diversity, and will provide fair and equal treatment to all.
We are committed to the Superior Court and to the community we serve. We will show this commitment by fair, impartial, and vigorous delivery of law enforcement services to all.
—Garth Pedrotti, Marshal
In the late 1800s, many cities in the western United States had a City Marshal, who was a contemporary police officer for the city. Of course, the most famous of these was Wyatt Earp before he became a United States Marshal.
The city Marshal was responsible for keeping the peace within the city limits. Outside of the city limits, that duty fell to the County Sheriff, much as it does today.
The Constable has been a fixture throughout history, from feudal times to the establishment of the original 13 colonies in America. In Trinity County, the Constable had always been a part of the Justice Courts, acting as bailiff, process server, investigator, and general peacekeeper. On January 1st, 1989, the Marshal's Office and the Constable's Office consolidated services, becoming the Trinity County Marshal's Office.
In January of 1993, legislation forever changed that separation, providing consolidation of court security services. Which of the two offices (Marshal or Sheriff) would be consolidated was left up to a majority vote of the judges. The judges in Trinity County voted to have the Marshal's Office provide all security services in all courtrooms. The service of all civil process was also given to the Marshal.
In 1998, the voters approved Proposition 220, allowing individual counties to consolidate their Municipal and Superior Court operations. To do so, a majority of the judges of each county would have to vote to consolidate. All 58 counties did so, effectively abolishing all Municipal courts in favor of Superior Courts. The California Constitution was subsequently amended, deleting all references to Municipal courts. So today, all trial courts in the state are Superior Courts.
In 1997, the Lockyer-Isenberg Trial Court Funding Act was introduced. This act provided for the state of California to directly fund all of the trial courts. A large portion of this act related to court security issues and proposed that all Marshal's Offices be abolished and their duties taken over by the Sheriff in each county. This issue, however, was left to each locality to decide.
In Trinity County, the decision was made to leave court security functions with the Marshal's Office, so the proposed merger did not occur. Other large agencies, such as Orange County and San Diego, did merge with their respective Sheriff's Offices.
Today, there are only two Marshals offices left in the state- Shasta County and Trinity County. Of the two, Trinity County is the smallest with seven authorized employees, all of whom are now employees of the Superior Court. In the year 2000, employees of the court system became court employees, whereas before, they had been county employees. This included the Marshal and all sworn deputies.
It is the first time that the trial courts in California have directly employed peace officers. The Superior Court and the Marshal's Office are navigating uncharted waters and at the same time making history.
Today, the Marshal's Office provides a myriad of services to the community.
- We are responsible for security in all of the courtrooms in the county, as well as the courthouse itself.
- We provide judicial protection for the bench officers.
- We serve civil papers for the County of Trinity.
- As fully sworn law enforcement officers, we also perform general law enforcement duties within the county, such as traffic enforcement and assistance to other agencies as needed.
Perhaps the most visible and familiar role we play is screening for weapons at the courthouse's front door. If you have to come to the courthouse for any reason, you must first pass through an airport-style weapon screening station. This includes jurors in criminal or civil trials, attorneys, police officers, and members of the general public.
The Marshal and all Deputy Marshals have the same peace officer authority as city Police Officers and Deputy Sheriffs. This authority is derived from California Penal Code section 830.1. A recent legislative change to that section, spearheaded by members of the Shasta County Marshal's office, replaced the word "municipal" with "superior" in reference to the courts and added the word "county" to more accurately reflect the current situation with the remaining Marshal's Offices.