Sergeant at Arms (CongressionalGlossary.com)

From the Congressional Glossary – Including Legislative and Budget Terms

Sergeant at Arms

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Byers set to wrestle world’s best Greco-Roman heavyweights 090831, by familymwr

House: As an elected officer of the House of Representatives, the Sergeant at Arms is the chief law enforcement and protocol officer of the House of Representatives, and is responsible for maintaining order in the House side of the United States Capitol complex. The Sergeant at Arms reviews and implements all issues relating to the safety and security of Members of Congress and the Capitol complex. The Sergeant at Arms also coordinates extensively with the U.S. Capitol Police and various intelligence agencies to assess threats against Members of Congress and the Capitol complex.

Duties include overseeing the House floor and galleries, the House Appointments Desk, the House garages and parking lots, as well as administering all staff identification badges. The mace, the symbol of the authority of the House and of the office of the sergeant at arms, is in the custody of the sergeant at arms.

 


These eight words precede every State of the Union

 

Senate: The Sergeant at Arms and Doorkeeper, elected by the Senate upon the nomination of the majority party conference, serves as the protocol and chief law enforcement officer and is the principal administrative manager for most support services in the Senate. The chief security officer of the Senate, the Sergeant at Arms and staff in the office help to preserve order in the Senate chamber, the Senate galleries, and the Senate side of the Capitol.

When the first Congress convened in 1789, the Office of Doorkeeper was established to address the single most pressing problem confronting the Senate at its birth – its inability to keep a majority of members in the Capitol long enough to organize and begin the business of government.

A doorkeeper was also necessary to control access to the Senate sessions, which were private for the first six years. Later, when the sessions were open to the public, the doorkeeper was responsible for maintaining order on the floor of the Senate and in the galleries. The title of Sergeant at Arms was added in 1798 to reflect the expanded administrative duties of the position. The Senate gavel is entrusted to the care of the sergeant at arms.

Also see § 4.110, Administrative Offices of the House, § 4.120, Administrative Offices of the Senate, in Congressional Deskbook.

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