Federal air marshals are deployed under the authority of the Transportation Security Administration. Long distance flights are a priority for federal air marshals, since those were the type of flights targeted on September 11, 2001. They are generally deployed on all passenger flights as well as those with higher security risks. Federal air marshals in Mississippi work undercover on flights, their presence unnoticed by most passengers.
Mississippi has many airports in which federal air marshals board airplanes. Some of the busiest in the state include:
- Jackson-Evers International Airport, which saw 618,373 enplanements in 2010
- Gulfport-Biloxi International Airport, which saw 461,072 enplanements in 2010
- Golden Triangle Regional Airport in Lowndes County, with 36,329 enplanements in 2010
Requirements to Become a Federal Air Marshal in Mississippi
Basic Qualifications – There are some basic requirements that all federal air marshals in Mississippi must satisfy. They include:
- U.S. citizenship
- Age between 21 and 36 ½
- Physical and cardiovascular fitness
- Psychological fitness
- Pass background investigation
- Ability to get top-secret clearance
Education and Experience – A prospective federal air marshal in Mississippi must have at least a bachelor degree, in any discipline, in order to be hired. If applicants do not possess this, they may claim three years of experience in work that involved problem solving, organization and communication skills. A combination of experience and education may also be accepted.
Candidates who apply for federal air marshal jobs in Mississippi are ranked according to Category Rating Procedures. This is based on their scored application, interview results and other factors. These factors include veteran’s preference, which puts applicants ahead of others in the same category; and service-connected disabilities in veterans, which also gives an applicant preference over others.
Training – Federal air marshals hired in Mississippi must complete 14 weeks of training before being allowed to officially go on assignment. The first seven weeks of training takes place in Artesia, New Mexico, while the second seven-week period is in Atlantic City, New Jersey. These are residential training courses, in which the new Mississippi federal air marshal lives on campus while attending the training. Trainings at both facilities consist of academic coursework as well as physical, self-defense and firearms training.
Planning a Career as a Mississippi Federal Air Marshal
The Mississippi Institutions of Higher Learning have collaborated on a program called Rise Up MS. Targeting high school students, the program is designed to assess their strengths, weaknesses and interests and point them in the right direction for careers that suit them. It helps with personality assessments, career choices, college choices, financial aid and more.
For those considering becoming a federal air marshal in Mississippi, in addition to the requirements already discussed there are other factors to consider. These include the ability to work well in a stressful environment; knowledge of law enforcement, investigative techniques, policies, procedures and laws; good problem-solving skills; good oral and written communication skills; and ability to work in a team setting. Possessing these qualities will help anyone interested in becoming a federal air marshal in Mississippi.