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Young, Determined, Successful – Meet the 23-Year-Old Making Waves in Gov

Young Government Leaders (YGL) and GovLoop present the NextGen Public Service Awards for superior public service and achievement. The 4th Annual NextGen Public Service Awards will be given at the 2014 NextGen Award’s Ceremony, which will kick off the NextGen Training Summit on July 23rd in Washington, DC. We have 18 finalists in six different categories. All month long we will be introducing you to the finalists.

Meet the Finalist:

Who: Desmond Proctor, Deputy US Marshal

Achievement: Finalist for the NextGen Exemplary Leadership Award

“I cannot think of another individual who is more deserving of the NextGen Exemplary Leadership award as Desmond Proctor. He exemplifies the motto of the US Marshal Service (USMS), Justice. Integrity. Service. It is clear that at a young age, when most were just attempting to attain a decent job, Proctor had plans beyond sustainment. His competence, dedication and commitment to not just the U.S Marshal Service, but to the field of public service, are truly unmatched.” – Charles Bradley, Deputy United States Marshal. Bradley nominated Proctor for the award.

September 16th is a day that Deputy US Marshal Desmond Proctor will never forget. Proctor a 23-year-old Deputy US Marshal, based in VA, was participating in surveillance of a fugitive suspect when a call came over the radio, “There was an active shooter in the Navy Yard.”

Proctor and his team rushed to the gruesome scene. A gunman had killed 12 people and injured eight inside a heavily secured building. It was one of the worst mass shootings ever at a U.S. military facility, and one of the deadliest single events ever in the nation’s capital.

Desmond was one of the first responders on the scene. He was initially assigned to a team providing a protective escort for emergency medical personnel to tend to wounded civilians and was later assigned to clear the 3rd floor of Building 197 in search of a reported possible secondary shooter.

“When we arrived on scene, they asked for about 10 of us to basically surround this emergency medical team and provide them a protective escort up into the building so that they could get wounded civilians out.”

Proctor would later be assigned to the taskforce sent out in search for a second shooter. A shooter that turned out not to exist.

“Everything was very hectic. It was one of those situations where nobody knows exactly what’s going on, we’re just responding, but we were prepared.”

At 23, Proctor is one of the youngest deputies in US Marshal history. On September 16th, he was on the same taskforce as deputiteis decades older. “I’m working right alongside them as a deputy that had been on for a year in that deputy position. I wasn’t sure what to expect and I wasn’t sure what my personal and emotional response would be, but I saw where the federal government prepared me. All of the training that I went through paid off.”

Proctor began basic training two years earlier in February 2012, after just turning 21 years old. Basic training for US Marshals includes 12-week criminal investigator training at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center in Georgia. “The basic training teaches us all about the laws, defensive tactics, firearms training, driving training, it gets into just about everything. After we complete the 12-week program successfully, then we have to immediately go into what’s called the basic deputy US Marshal course, which is another 5 ½ weeks at that same location in Georgia. At that point, it’s a lot more about physical preparation.”

Proctor finds his training invaluable, “At basic they give you all of these tools of the trade to store in my toolbox. When the Navy Yard shooting occurred, it was the ultimate situation and I saw that I knew how to use all those tools in my toolbox and I was prepared to use them properly.”

When asked why he was a public servant Proctor paused before answering simply, “I don’t do public service for myself. I don’t do public service to get any type of honor. I’m a public servant just simply because I like to help other people. I’ve always seen a good public servant as someone that displays humility. Someone that, that’s not in it for themselves, someone that’s there for the people.”

“I give my all to what I do and when I complete a task, I seek another.”

His favorite part of his job? “I get to have a new experience every single day. The US Marshal Service has the broadest authority and jurisdiction of all federal law enforcement agencies. It requires us to do several different duties. So it could be anywhere from courtroom security, prisoner transportation, fugitive investigations, judicial protection, extraditions. There, there’s so much that we’re authorized to do and have the jurisdiction to do, to where even if I’m doing courtroom security, 5 days one week, every single day’s going to be different.”

What the biggest misconception about government work? “The media is constantly showing the whole political frame of public service in a bad light. The public’s not viewing government as people making this government. People like myself. We’re, everyday people just like anyone else. So when a mistake is made, it’s humans that made the mistake, and it’s humans who create this government. And all we can really ask is that humans give their best each day. “

We will be talking to all the NextGen Public Service Award finalists in the upcoming weeks. See the full list here. And register for NextGen!

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