A native of Pennsylvania, Marshal James C. Byham came to Orange County in 1961 following his discharge from the United States Army. He attended Rancho Santiago College, and then joined the Marshal’s Office in 1963, while attending California State University, Fullerton.

Marshal James C. Byham spent the next 25 years in the Marshal’s Department, rising from Deputy Marshal to the top position during some of the greatest growth years of the department. During Marshal Byham’s tenure, the Marshal’s Department doubled in size and grew by hundreds of employees.

Marshal Byham was the first Marshal to serve both the Municipal and Superior Courts, following the consolidation of services between the Sheriff’s and Marshal’s Departments on April 1, 1984. The consolidation of services is credited with saving the taxpayers of Orange County more that $1 million dollars per year in operational costs.

In 1987, the Marshal’s Department had grown to approximately 321 authorized employees, with an annual budget of more that $14 million dollars.

Marshal Byham retired in March, 1988 and was succeeded by Marshal Michael S. Carona.