Armed with a Sig Sauer P229 pistol, air marshals in Wisconsin may serve out of any of the six major airports located within the state:
- General Mitchell International Airport near Milwaukee, the largest airport in the state, where more than seven million passengers transit every year.
- Austin Straubel International Airport near Green Bay, with seven airliner companies flying more than 564,000 passengers last year alone.
- Dane County Regional Airport near Madison, providing services to approximately 1.5 million passengers annually.
- Outagamie County Regional Airport near Appleton and serving the Fox Cities, with daily flights to seven major US cities. Airliners transported over 229,000 passengers on outbound flights last year.
- Central Wisconsin Airport, known locally as C-Way near Mosinee, with four airlines transporting 120,449 to destinations across the country last year.
- La Crosse Regional Airport, with 11 departures on a daily basis provided by two major airlines, which last year flew nearly 100,000 passengers.
Air marshals in Wisconsin can face everything from unruly passengers to terrorists who have smuggled weapons aboard the plane. This is why only the best, brightest, and most qualified candidates are selected for the job.
Meeting the Requirements to Become and Air Marshal
The basic qualifications and hiring process for air marshal candidates are as follows:
- Being between the ages of 21-36, with exceptions for federal officers
- Gaining a top secret security clearance through a satisfactory background investigation
- Passing a medical and psychological evaluation
- Making it through a panel interview
- Passing the Air Marshal Assessment Battery Test
Applying for air marshal jobs is a multi-step process that begins once a candidate meets the basic education and experience qualifications:
Having a four-year degree qualifies candidates for employment and is the most common path to an air marshal career. Practical majors include:
- Law Enforcement
- Criminal Justice
- Police Science
Applicants have the option of substituting a degree with three years of professional experience that demonstrates proficiency in key air marshal job duties, such as:
- Being able to make practical, logically based decisions quickly
- Communicating effectively with many kinds of people under a variety of circumstances
- Problem solving and analysis
- Organizing and executing a plan
A combination of education and relevant experience may also substitute for a bachelor’s degree
Air Marshal Training and Joint Agency Task Forces
Air marshals must meet extensive training requirements before receiving their first assignment in Wisconsin. The following critical skills are developed during training:
- Hostage negotiating
- Close quarter defensive maneuvers
- First aid and emergency medical procedures
- International and national law
Training begins with 35 days spent at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center in New Mexico. This is followed by an additional 43 days at the Federal Air Marshal Service Training Center in New Jersey. Newly hired air marshals must successfully navigate these courses before they will be ready to begin working on their own.
As air marshals gain more experience, they will also begin to develop relationships with local law enforcement agencies in Wisconsin. This is accomplished by consulting with local and state intelligence partnerships or serving in a joint-agency task force. These include:
- Wisconsin Joint Terrorism Task Force
- Wisconsin Statewide Intelligence Center
- Wisconsin Division of Criminal Investigation
- Two Fusion Centers located in Milwaukee