Local News

N.C. Facility Could Provide Air Marshal Training

Posted September 21, 2001

— Since last week's attack, a lot of people are talking about putting air marshals on commercial planes.

A training camp in Camden County is one place future air marshals could train.

The Blackwater Training Center in remote Camden County has adjusted one of its facilities to look like a large plane, full of passengers.

The key, the trainer says, is to stop the hijacker without hurting innocent passengers.

"The officer can't just have his weapon out all the time. The bad guy has done something. The officer has to produce his weapon, present it to the target and engage the target, so his reaction time is very critical," says training director Jim Sierawski.

The privately-run training center says its phone is already ringing off the hook -- not only from military outlets, but from corporations that want to keep their employees safe.

To

qualify for the job

of air marshal, applicants must be no older than 37, have a B.A. degree and be a U.S. citizen .

The job description warns of irregular hours, top secret security clearance and being on-call 24 hours a day.

Aside from air marshals, two airline security task forces are looking at issues such as improving airport screening and preventing passengers from gaining access to cockpits.

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