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Sergeant at Arms of the United States House of Representatives
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Sergeant at Arms of the United States House of Representatives

Wilson "Bill" Livingood]] announces U.S. President Barack Obama for the 2011 State of the Union Address. 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.

Contents


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 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 (such as the State of the Union address, prior to 2007), formal addresses to the Congress, greeting and escorting visiting foreign dignitaries, and to supervise congressional funeral arrangements. In this capacity, the Sergeant at Arms is most famous for announcing the arrival of the President, a responsibility that he took over from the Doorkeeper of the United States House of Representatives when the latter position was abolished in 1995. Custom dictates that he announce the arrival of the president by saying, "Mister (or Madam) Speaker, the President of the United States!"

For daily sessions of the House, the Sergeant at Arms carries the silver and ebony Mace of the United States 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 House 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 Sergeants at Arms are Kerri Hanley and Donald Kellaher.

List of Sergeants at Arms

Sergeant at Arms State or Territory Term of Service
Joseph Wheaton Rhode Island May 12, 1789 October 27, 1807
Thomas Dunn Maryland October 27, 1807 December 5, 1824
John O. Dunn District of Columbia December 6, 1824 December 3, 1833
Thomas B. Randolph Virginia December 3, 1833 December 15, 1835
Roderick Dorsey Maryland December 15, 1835 June 8, 1841
Eleazor M. Townsend Connecticut June 8, 1841 December 7, 1843
Newton Lane Kentucky December 7, 1843 December 8, 1847
Nathan Sargant Vermont December 8, 1847 January 15, 1850
Adam J. Glossbrenner Pennsylvania January 15, 1850 February 3, 1860
Henry W. Hoffman Maryland February 3, 1860 July 5, 1861
Edward Ball Ohio July 5, 1861 December 8, 1863
Nehemiah G. Ordway New Hampshire December 8, 1863 December 6, 1875
John G. Thompson Ohio December 6, 1875 December 5, 1881
George W. Hooker Vermont December 5, 1881 December 4, 1883
John P. Leedom Ohio December 4, 1883 December 2, 1889
Adoniram J. Holmes Iowa December 2, 1889 December 8, 1891
Samuel S. Yoder Ohio December 8, 1891 August 7, 1893
Herman W. Snow Illinois August 7, 1893 December 2, 1895
Benjamin F. Russell Missouri December 2, 1895 December 4, 1899
Henry Casson Wisconsin December 4, 1899 April 4, 1911
Ulysses S. Jackson Indiana April 4, 1911 June 22, 1913
Charles F. Riddell Indiana July 18, 1912 April 7, 1913
Robert B. Gordon Ohio April 7, 1913 May 19, 1919
Joseph G. Rogers Pennsylvania May 19, 1919 December 7, 1931
Kenneth Romney Montana December 7, 1931 January 3, 1947
William F. Russell Pennsylvania January 3, 1947 January 3, 1949
Joseph H. Callahan Kentucky January 3, 1949 January 3, 1953
William F. Russell Pennsylvania January 3, 1953 July 7, 1953
Lyle O. Snader Illinois July 8, 1953 September 15, 1953
William R. Bonsell Pennsylvania September 15, 1953 January 5, 1955
Zeake W. Johnson Jr. Tennessee January 5, 1955 September 30, 1972
Kenneth R. Harding Virginia October 1, 1972 February 29, 1980
Benjamin J. Guthrie Virginia March 1, 1980 January 3, 1983
Jack Russ Maryland January 3, 1983 March 12, 1992
Werner Brandt Virginia March 12, 1992 January 4, 1995
Wilson Livingood Virginia January 4, 1995 January 17, 2012
Paul D. Irving Virginia January 17, 2012 present

See also

External links

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