Federal air marshals in Maine work under the jurisdiction of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to stop terrorist attacks and hostile acts against passengers and crew aboard airplanes and at airports. They protect the safety of passengers and crews by blending in with these persons and operating independently to maintain security.
Although Maine’s federal air marshals usually work independently in making split-second safety-related decisions, they also work jointly with other law enforcement agencies. These include federal agencies such as the FBI, state law enforcement like the Maine State Police, and local law enforcement agencies including the City of Portland Police Department, Lewiston Police Department, Bangor Police Department, Scarborough Police Department and City of Sanford Police Department.
Meeting Requirements to Become a Federal Air Marshal in Maine
Basic Requirements – Prospective air marshals in Maine must meet some general requirements before applying for the job. These include being a U.S. citizen, being between the ages of 21 and 36, passing drug, mental health and physical examinations and passing a criminal background check.
All federal air marshals in Maine must also be able to qualify for top-secret security clearance.
Additionally, candidates for federal air marshal jobs in Maine must be physically fit, have cardiovascular endurance, and normal vision and vocal abilities.
Education and Experience Requirements – If an aspiring Maine federal air marshal does not have a bachelor’s degree, three years of work experience may be substituted. This experience must demonstrate that the applicant has performed work involving the gathering of data, analysis and solving of problems. A combination of education and experience is also acceptable for candidates pursuing jobs with the Federal Air Marshal Service (FAMS).
Although prospective federal air marshals in Maine need not have a bachelor’s degree so long as they have the requisite experience, a degree is often preferred. The major of a candidate’s bachelor’s degree does not matter, but majors in certain areas, such as criminal justice or law enforcement, are the most helpful.
Training for Federal Air Marshal Jobs in Maine
All newly hired federal air marshals in Maine must complete a rigorous course of basic training. There are two parts to this training:
- Basic training program for 35 days, conducted at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center in Artesia, New Mexico
- Advanced training program for 43 days, conducted at the Federal Air Marshal Service Training Center in Atlantic City, New Jersey
Both of these trainings are physically and mentally challenging. Students are instructed in a variety of trainings and skills, such as:
- Cardiovascular training
- Defensive measures training
- Agility training
- Flexibility training
- Strength training
- Firearms training
- Practical Pistol Course (PPC)
Maine’s Air Marshals in the News
Federal air marshals in Maine made national news in April 2010 when they apprehended an American citizen flying from Paris to Atlanta who claimed to have explosives in his luggage. The air marshals made the decision to land the plane at the Bangor International Airport. This airport routinely sees diverted flights such as this one, as the Bangor airport is the first large airport in the United States for European flights and the last for outgoing flights to Europe. During this particular instance, no bomb was found in the passenger’s luggage or on board the airplane, but the FBI took him into custody.
Maine’s federal air marshals do not serve just the Bangor International Airport, however. Maine has many large airports in need of the services of federal air marshals, such as the Hancock County-Bar Harbor Airport in Bar Harbor, the Knox County Regional Airport in Rockland, the Northern Maine Regional Airport at Presque Isle, and the Portland International Airport, which recorded the most commercial passenger boardings (851,566) of all of Maine’s airports in 2010 according to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).