Federal air marshals in Minnesota work to protect the safety of passengers and personnel both in airports and on airplanes. They work in the busiest commercial airports in the state, although most passengers will never detect their presence unless a threat is perceived.
Airports in Minnesota in which federal air marshals have worked include:
- St. Cloud Regional Airport in St. Cloud
- Rochester International Airport
- St. Paul International Airport
- Duluth International Airport
- Falls International Airport
- Bemidji Regional Airport
Meeting the Criteria to Become a Federal Air Marshal in Minnesota
General requirements that must be met before applying to become a federal air marshal in Minnesota include:
- Possession of U.S. citizenship
- Being between the ages of 21 and 36 ½
- Being physically fit and able to pass a physical exam as well as rigorous physical training and testing
- Being able to pass a drug test
- Being able to pass a psychological test
- Being able to pass a background check
- Being able to obtain top-secret security experience
Education and Experience Needed for Federal Air Marshals in Minnesota
Federal air marshals in Minnesota need to meet additional requirements via education or experience. For all applicants, ONE of the following must apply:
- Possession of a bachelor degree in any field
- Possession of three or more years of work experience that demonstrates communication abilities (orally and in writing), problem solving skills, and organizational
- Possession of a combination of education and experience as described above
The South Metro Public Safety Training Facility in Edina
New Minnesota federal air marshals must complete 78 days of training before going on the job. The first part, basic training, occurs in New Mexico for 35 days, while part two, lasting 43 days, takes place in New Jersey. Classroom training and physical conditioning are parts of both trainings, as are training in firearms and defensive measures.
Federal air marshals must continue to participate in training exercises once they are on the job. For Minnesota federal air marshals, this was made easier recently with the creation of the South Metro Public Safety Training Facility in Edina. The 24,000 square foot training facility took a decade to build and was designed for use by local law enforcement as well as other law enforcement agencies, including the Federal Air Marshal Service.
Its creation was the result of a collaboration among the police and fire departments of Bloomington, Edina and Eden Prairie, and the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport Police Department. Included within this state-of-the-art training facility are two classrooms, two indoor shooting ranges, a combat simulator, a fully padded space for training in defensive measures, an eight-story tower in a two-story building, a maze room, and a K-9 training field. In addition to the Federal Air Marshal Service, other agencies that have already used the facility for training include the U.S. Customs, FBI, Minnesota State Patrol, IRS Criminal Investigation, Metropolitan Transit Police, Minnesota Fire School, and local law enforcement agencies.
Minnesota Represented at Congressional Hearing on Federal Air Marshal Service
At a hearing in Washington, D.C. in February 2012, Chip Cravaack of Minnesota, who was on the Committee on Homeland Security of the House of Representatives, spoke to Congress not only as a representative of Minnesota but also as a former Federal Flight Deck Officer and an airline pilot for 17 years.
Mr. Cravaack noted that since September 11, 2001, federal air marshals have learned through experience that a single point security check does not prevent terrorism. The Minnesota representative added that the collaboration of many different types of individuals and security officers ensures the safety and security of passengers on airplanes. He said that Federal Air Marshals protect Americans on 29,000 flights per day throughout the United States.