Sergeant at Arms of the United States House of Representatives

Sergeant at Arms of the United States House of Representatives

The United States House of Representatives Sergeant at Arms is an officer of the House with law enforcement, protocol, and administrative responsibilities. The Sergeant at Arms is elected at the beginning of each Congress by the membership of the chamber. The current House Sergeant at Arms is Wilson (Bill) Livingood.

Duties

As the chief law enforcement officer of the House, the Sergeant at Arms is responsible for security in the House wing of the United States Capitol, the House office buildings, and on adjacent grounds. Under the direction of the Speaker of the House or other presiding officer, the Sergeant at Arms plays an integral role in maintaining order and decorum in the House chamber.

The Sergeant at Arms is also responsible for ensuring the safety and security of Members of Congress, congressional staff, visiting national and foreign dignitaries, and tourists. Toward this mission, the Sergeant at Arms works in concert with the Senate Sergeant at Arms, and the Architect of the Capitol. These three officials, along with the Chief of the Capitol Police in an "ex officio" status, comprise the Capitol Police Board.

Through custom and precedent, the Sergeant at Arms performs a number of protocol and ceremonial duties. Among these duties are to lead formal processions at ceremonies such as presidential inaugurations, joint sessions of Congress, formal addresses to the Congress, greeting and escorting visiting foreign dignitaries, and to supervise congressional funeral arrangements.

For daily sessions of the House, the sergeant carries the silver and ebony Mace of the US House of Representatives in front of the speaker in procession to the rostrum. When the House is in session, the mace stands on a pedestal to the speaker's own right. When the body resolves itself into a Committee of the Whole on the State of the Union, the sergeant moves the mace to a lowered position, more or less out of sight. In accordance with the Rules of the House, on the rare occasions when a Member becomes unruly, the Sergeant at Arms, on order of the Speaker, lifts the mace from its pedestal and presents it before the offenders, thereby restoring order.

The Sergeant at Arms performs administrative services in support of the Members, staff, and visitors associated with the security and other operations of the House.

Capitol Guide Board

In addition to serving on the Capitol Police Board, the Sergeant at Arms serves with the Senate Sergeant at Arms and the Architect of the Capitol on the Capitol Guide Board. This board oversees the Capitol Guide Service, which provides tours of the Capitol to visitors and special services to tourists.

Deputy Sergeant at Arms

The Deputy Sergeant at Arms is an important position under the Sergeant at Arms. The Sergeant at Arms has the duty of making the important decisions under his/her power, while the Deputy Sergeant at Arms often executes the decisions. The current Deputy Sergeant at Arms is Kerri Hanley.

List of Sergeants at Arms

ee also

*Sergeant at Arms of the United States Senate

External links

* Source: [http://www.rules.house.gov/archives/98-835.pdf United States House of Representatives Sergeant at Arms Fact Sheet (pdf file)] , via House.gov
* [http://www.c-span.org/questions/weekly12.asp Who is the Sergeant-at-Arms, and what does he/she do? How is the position filled? ] , via c-span.org (May 3 2000)


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