As seen on TV: Marshals are hiring
 Agent talks about ‘recession-proof’ line of work at HCC in Bridgeport

By Pam Dawkins, STAFF WRITER, CT Post

BRIDGEPORT — Can you do 36 sit­ups in a minute, 27 pushups in 60 sec­onds and run 1.5 miles in 12 minutes, 51 seconds or less?

 If you’re between the ages of 22 and 36, want a salary that starts at about $ 36,000, can run up stairs wearing a 45­pound bulletproof vest and wait up to 10 months for a job, the U. S. Marshals Service might have a place for you. The above requirement is the minimum for a man 30 to 39 years old.

More than 40 people spent an hour Thursday with Deputy U. S. Marshal Lawrence Bobnick, listening to a de­scription of the work available at the oldest federal law enforcement agency, which dates to 1789. Most were crimi­nal justice students at Housatonic Community College in Bridgeport, the site of the event, but several came from out of town.

Stratford resident Steven Figueroa, 20, invited Bobnick to speak. Figueroa, president of the Criminal Justice Club, said he wanted to show students differ­ent aspects of law enforcement.

The marshals, which are based in U. S. district courts, have 94 district of­fices. Bobnick, who has been with the agency for more than 10 years, is based in Bridgeport.

Their work — long glorified in the movies and on television — includes guarding court officers, apprehend­ing fugitives, transporting prisoners and protecting witnesses, he said.

The marshals also manage assets seized as part of criminal investigations. Bobnick said they are operat­ing a Danbury trash-hauling business seized for alleged mob involvement.

The marshals have broad­er arrest powers than other federal agencies — they can arrest using local and state warrants, Bobnick said. And employees aren’t moved around after a three-year tour of duty, as the FBI does.

The agency is hiring in some regions under the Federal Ca­reer Internship Program, which isn’t a traditional intern­ship, Bobnick said. Applicants who make it through the train­ing are conditional hires for two years, then become regu­lar employees. The agency has divided the country into eight regions, and candidates work in the region through which they were hired. Anyone can attend, at their own expense, a mandatory recruitment semi­nar in a particular region. The information will be posted on the Web site, www.usmarshals. gov.

“ You’re never going to be rich, but it’s also generally re­cession- proof,” Bobnick said.

That’s probably why it’s not just a matter of being physically fit. The exam is like a difficult SAT, he said. Of the 40,000 who took it last year, 8,000 passed and prob­ably only a few hundred were hired. Connecticut has 17 op­erational deputy marshals in the Bridgeport, New Haven and Hartford district courts.

Bridgeport resident Danuta Dabrowska, 27, said she was more interested in working for the FBI than the mar­shals, but the HCC student still listened intently. She’s married, has a 3-year- old son and speaks English, Polish, Russian and Spanish.

 Andrew Bates, a 26-year­old from Goshen, has a back­ground in cooking but said, “ I don’t have the passion to cook.” He said he has a pas­sion for law enforcement. Bates, who is not a student, came to hear details about careers with the agency. He said he wants to help people and “do your part in keeping the country safe.”

After listening to Bobnick, he smiled and nodded when asked whether he would go forward with his plan.