As a hub of global activity, Chicago brings an immense number of domestic and international travelers into Illinois each year. The Federal Air Marshal field office in Chicago services the extensive Chicago airport system, which includes two of the world’s busiest airports:
- Chicago O’Hare International Airport is the fifth busiest airport in the world in terms of passengers, serving some 56, 217, 053 people in 2013. It also led the world in takeoffs and landings in 2005.
- Chicago Midway International Airport serves predominantly domestic flights and serves some 19, 516, 127 passengers in 2012.
Federal Air Marshals in the Chicago field office protect these hectic international airports against threats to national security.
Employment Requirements for the Federal Air Marshal Service
Individuals interested in learning how to become an air marshal in Illinois can expect to participate in a rigorous training program that includes 7 ½ weeks of basic law enforcement training followed by 8 ½ weeks of advanced training at a special Federal Air Marshal training facility.
For those individuals interested in applying for Federal Air Marshal Service in Illinois, and who are between the ages of 21 and 36 or otherwise have prior federal civilian law enforcement experience, there are several minimum requirements, including the following:
- A bachelor’s degree in any field from an accredited university; OR
- 3 years of experience that includes demonstrable progression in the following areas:
- Problem solving skills
- Planning and organizational ability
- Effective communication skills
A combination of education and experience in these areas is also acceptable.
Candidates will also be required to submit to an extensive pre-screening process that includes the following:
- Physical examination with drug and alcohol screening
- Psychological assessment
- Background check for top-level security clearance
- A panel Interview
- The Federal Air Marshal Service battery test
Chicago Federal Air Marshals Partner with Local Law Enforcement
Federal Air Marshals working out of the Chicago field office have a strong relationship with local law enforcement agencies. Federal Air Marshals stationed at O’Hare International Airport often partner with the Lake County Sherriff’s Department and even share facilitates.
Federal Air Marshals have access to the department’s shooting range for their own target practice needs. The range is shared with the Sherriff’s Department and 18 other area police departments. This partnership allows the Federal Air Marshals to build better relationships with local law enforcement and allows local law enforcement agencies to aid in the fight against terrorism.
Federal Air Marshals must also partner with Chicago aviation police to protect Chicago airports. City of Chicago aviation police work hard to provide security and keep the peace, but they are not armed officers.
This means that in Chicago’s airports, Federal Air Marshals are often the only armed law enforcement agents in terminals and on concourses. In the situation of an armed threat within a Chicago area airport, a Federal Air Marshal could intervene before the armed Chicago police department arrives.