Federal air marshals operate under the supervision of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and work within Maryland airports, as well as on flights to and from Maryland. There are three primary airports in the state:
- Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport, which had 10,848,633 commercial passenger boardings in 2010 per the FAA
- Salisbury-Ocean City Wicomico Regional Airport, with 65,489 commercial passenger boardings in 2010
- Hagerstown Regional Airport, with 10,665 commercial passenger boardings in 2010
Federal air marshals in Maryland must often work closely with state and local law enforcement agencies to keep America’s airliners, airports and skies safe. Examples of agencies in Maryland with which federal air marshals work include the Baltimore Police Department, the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office, the Prince George’s County Sheriff’s Office, the Howard County Police Department and the Maryland State Police.
Fulfilling the Criteria to Become a Federal Air Marshal in Maryland
Federal Air Marshal Service (FAMS) criteria when filling air marshal jobs in Maryland fall into the basic, physical and educational/experiential categories.
- Basic Requirements: All federal air marshals in Maryland must be between the ages of 21 and 36 ½ and be a U.S. citizen. They must also pass thorough criminal and credit background checks as well as have the ability to qualify for top-secret security clearance.
- Physical Requirements: Aspiring federal air marshals in Maryland must possess the physical fitness to pass challenging physical tests during training. They must also be able to see and speak normally.
- Educational/Experiential Requirements: Candidates who possess a bachelor degree in any discipline will have an advantage over candidates without a degree. Candidates who have three years of work experience in analyzing and solving problems, gathering data and planning and communicating may substitute this for a degree should they lack one. Applicants with a combination of education and experience will be examined on a case-by-case basis.
Training for Federal Air Marshal Jobs in Maryland
Once hired as a federal air marshal in Maryland, new recruits must undergo 78 days of training, broken into two parts. The first part consists of basic training for 35 days, and takes place at the Federal Law enforcement Training Center in Artesia, New Mexico. This training combines classroom courses with Practical Exercise Performance Requirements and Physical Training Requirements such as the Physical Efficiency Battery and Firearms Training.
Federal Air Marshal Service Training Program II (FAMSTP II) is considered advanced training. This takes place at the Federal Air Marshal Service Training Center (the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)’s William J. Hughes Technical Center) in Atlantic City, New Jersey and lasts for 43 days. This training includes a 360-degree live fire shoot-house, an indoor interactive training room with indoor laser disc judgment pistol shooting, as well as classroom courses and physical training.
Federal Air Marshals in Maryland Assisting MTA on the Ground
In October 2013, the Maryland Transit Administration (MTA) announced a new program targeting the theft of electronic devices. Working in combination with the Baltimore City Police and the Federal Air Marshal’s Visible Intermodal Prevention and Response (VIPR) Unit, agents in uniform will ride on MTA buses and patrol in the vicinity of bus stops. The goal of this operation is to keep the Maryland transit system safe on the ground. In this way, Federal Air Marshals in Maryland are helping to keep ground transportation modalities safe as well as keeping passengers safe in Maryland’s skies and within the state’s airports.