Date: Sep 20, 2002
Press Release Number: 98-2002
Helping the New York-New Jersey region meet the need for greater security in the wake of the September 11 terror attacks, the Port Authority Police Department today welcomed 235 new recruits – the second class of new police officers to graduate from the Port Authority Police Academy since the attacks, and the largest class of new Port Authority police officers in the agency’s history.
A graduation ceremony was held today at Fairleigh Dickinson University in Hackensack, N.J.
The new Port Authority police officers have received extensive specialized training in such fields as counter-terrorism techniques, responding to air crashes, protecting maritime ports, and use of portable heart defibrillators to revive victims of cardiac arrest, as well as conventional law enforcement techniques. They will immediately begin guarding and protecting the region’s airports, bridges, tunnels and other facilities, said Superintendent of Police/Director of Public Safety Charles D. De Rienzo.
New York Governor George E. Pataki said, “These highly trained new officers will provide the traveling public with a greater sense of security, at the airports and at other critical transportation centers in the New York area.
“The courageous men and women of the Port Authority Police Department know what duty and sacrifice are all about, having sacrificed 37 of their own during the heroic rescue attempts of September 11,” Governor Pataki said. “These outstanding and highly trained men and women deserve our thanks and our admiration as they undertake a great responsibility today, and I salute them.”
New Jersey Governor James E. McGreevey said, \"As the world learned on September 11, police, firefighters and emergency service workers are a breed apart from the rest of us. They are trained to run toward danger, not away from it. They are a remarkable group of individuals ready to set aside their own personal safety to save others.
\"Our new Port Authority police officers, more than 200 strong, will carry on the proud tradition of the men and women who have served with the agency over the years. They will play a key role in protecting the public in both New Jersey and New York, serving as the front line of defense for airports, bridges and tunnels, PATH and the Port Authority Bus Terminal.\"
Today’s graduates join the 83 new Port Authority officers who graduated on April 26, 2002, as part of the first new recruit class since 37 Port Authority Police officers and commanders died in the World Trade Center attacks that killed more than 2,800. The toll of Port Authority police officers, many of whom raced to the scene to help evacuate the complex, represents the largest loss of life by a police department on a single day in U.S. history.
Port Authority Chairman Jack G. Sinagra said, “Today the Port Authority has taken another important step to help the region recover from the terrorist attacks of one year ago. These fine young men and women are playing a critical role in helping secure that recovery. By the end of November we will have added more than 400 new police officers, and more are on the way.”
Port Authority Vice Chairman Charles A. Gargano said, “These police recruits are among the finest and most highly trained officers to have gone through our rigorous Police Academy. Their graduation today shows that they are ready to tackle one of the most important jobs in law enforcement, at one of the most important times in our history as an agency, as a region and as a country.”
Port Authority Executive Director Joseph J. Seymour said, “We are extremely proud of these graduates and the training they have received. We believe it is among the most comprehensive and specialized police training programs in the world. Their curriculum has been strengthened to include counter-terrorism training needed in the post 9-11 environment. In addition, they have the specialized emergency skills needed to safeguard our citizens. In recognition of these skills, they have been designated as first responders to incidents at our airports, bridges and tunnels and other facilities. We welcome these officers as they put into action their new skills and commitment to public service.”
Superintendent De Rienzo said, “As we strive to increase the security of travelers at all our transportation facilities in both states, the Port Authority Police Department welcomes these outstanding new officers. We will continue with our aggressive recruitment campaign. This week, we began accepting applications from qualified individuals interested in joining our police force. New police recruit classes are scheduled to begin later this month, with another class scheduled to start in December.” Applications will be accepted until October 11, Mr. De Rienzo said.
Superintendent De Rienzo succeeded the late Port Authority Police Superintendent Fred V. Morrone, who was killed in the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center.
The graduates also were the first to enter the Port Authority Police Academy under the command of Capt. Michael Tobia. Captain Tobia succeeded 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 Port Authority Police Department – now 1,556-strong, with the addition of today’s graduates -- patrols the region’s major transportation facilities – including Kennedy International, Newark Liberty 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.
The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey operates some of the busiest and most important transportation links in the region. They include Kennedy International, Newark Liberty International, LaGuardia and Teterboro airports; the George Washington Bridge; the Lincoln and Holland tunnels; the three bridges between Staten Island and New Jersey; the PATH rapid-transit system; the Downtown Manhattan Heliport; Port Newark; the Elizabeth-Port Authority Marine Terminal; the Howland Hook Marine Terminal on Staten Island; the Brooklyn Piers/Red Hook Container Terminal; and the Port Authority Bus Terminal in midtown Manhattan. The agency is financially self-supporting and receives no tax revenue from either state.