Date: Apr 26, 2002
Press Release Number: 53-2002
Graduates First Since September 11 Terrorist Attacks
The Port Authority Police Department today welcomed 83 graduates – the department’s first new police officers since the September 11 terrorist attacks – during a graduation ceremony today at Fairleigh Dickinson University in Hackensack, N.J.
The graduates received enhanced security training during the Port Authority Police Academy’s eight-week program – as well as training in police skills and such specialized areas as firefighting and the use of portable heart defibrillators to revive victims of cardiac arrest. They will begin patrolling Port Authority facilities immediately, said Charles D. DeRienzo, the Port Authority’s new Superintendent of Police/Director of Public Safety.
New York Governor George E. Pataki said, “Few people understand the importance of security more than the courageous men and women of the Port Authority Police Department. These new graduates have received the most comprehensive security training available. They are fully able to carry out the more stringent security requirements set forth by my administration and the federal government.”
New Jersey Governor James E. McGreevey said, “The new officers will enhance our efforts to provide the region with effective and efficient public safety services. They also carry on the proud tradition of the men and women who have served with the Port Authority over the years, including the courageous officers who perished on September 11. New Jersey looks forward to continuing to work in partnership with the Port Authority and other law enforcement agencies to strengthen security in a coordinated and integrated manner.”
Today’s graduates are the first new recruits since 37 Port Authority Police officers and commanders were killed in the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center – the largest loss of life by a police department on a single day in U.S. history.
Port Authority Chairman Jack G. Sinagra said, “The courageous people who make up the Port Authority Police Department showed the world on September 11 that they were willing to make the ultimate sacrifice to save the lives of others. Today the Port Authority Police take another important step in their recovery from that day of inconceivable tragedy and incomparable heroism.”
Port Authority Vice Chairman Charles A. Gargano said, “These police recruits have displayed exceptional diligence and professionalism during their training. Their graduation today clearly demonstrates that they are prepared to tackle one of the most challenging and rewarding jobs in law enforcement.”
Port Authority Executive Director Joseph J. Seymour said, “In a typical year, more than 400 million travelers rely on the Port Authority’s facilities. Graduates of the Port Authority Police Academy receive the most comprehensive, most specialized police
training in the world. Their skills, commitment and bravery are second to none.”
Superintendent DeRienzo said, “The Port Authority Police Department’s aggressive recruitment and training of new police officers are far from over. About 70 new recruits will begin training on May 13. Additional classes are scheduled to begin in July, September and November. By the end of this year, we expect to train and graduate more than 400 new Port Authority Police officers to serve and protect the public.”
Superintendent DeRienzo succeeds the late Port Authority Police Superintendent Fred V. Morrone, who was killed in the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center.
During today’s graduation ceremony, Fairleigh Dickinson University President J. Michael Adams announced a new scholarship named for Superintendent Morrone. Alyssa Morrone, the late Superintendent’s daughter and a graduate student in the Master of Administrative Science program, is the scholarship’s first recipient.
The graduates also were the first to enter the Port Authority Police Academy under the command of Capt. Michael Tobia. Capt. Tobia succeeds the late Capt. Kathy N. Mazza – one of six Police Academy commanders and staff officers who were killed while assisting in the evacuation of the World Trade Center on September 11.
The 1,300-member Port Authority Police Department patrols the region’s major transportation facilities – including Kennedy International, Newark International and LaGuardia airports, the PATH system and the region’s ports, bus terminals, bridges and tunnels.
Port Authority Police also provide aircraft rescue and firefighting at the airports. In addition, they are trained as certified first responders to medical emergencies.