Born in South Carolina in 1936, Louie McKinney left his childhood home at the age of 17 and joined the Navy. Drawn to law enforcement, McKinney joined the D.C. police in 1963, and earned a reputation for determination and loyalty to his fellow officers. During his time with the DC police, he interacted with one Deputy Marshal in particular, whom he found interesting. These interactions eventually led him to turn down a position with the ATF in 1968 to pursue a career with the U.S. Marshals Service.
McKinney was told that he would get his badge when another deputy retired and he was initially assigned less than exciting work. Things picked up for him when he transferred to the “warrant squad” and tracked down bail jumpers. In one instance a criminal’s revolver misfired three times at point blank range while McKinney attempted to arrest him. The gun later worked flawlessly when tested at the firing range. During his years at the USMS Louie transported prisoners cross-country in his own car and helped create new standards of airport security while on the “anti-hijacking squad.” In 1971, Louie McKinney became a member of the elite Special Operations Group or SOG. He was involved in several operations including the 1973 American Indian Movement occupation of the Wounded Knee Reservation in South Dakota. During the nearly three month standoff McKinney was under fire several times.
McKinney later worked in the Witness Security Program and Internal Affairs before he accepted a position as Chief Deputy in the American Virgin Islands, where he later returned as U.S. Marshal. His storied career included working at different times as a consultant with the FBI, as a liaison to Interpol and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, as Chief of the Marshals Service Enforcement Division, and as Deputy Director. During George W. Bush's presidency, Louie McKinney was appointed Acting Director of the U.S. Marshals Service, the first career deputy to hold the position. Today he is a senior vice president at MVM Inc., a leading provider of uniformed protective services, contract staffing and support.