Date: Dec 04, 2002
Press Release Number: 128-2002
A new class of 120 Port Authority police officers graduated today from the Port Authority’s Police Academy at Fairleigh Dickinson University, dedicating themselves to protecting the safety and security of travelers who use the New York-New Jersey region’s transportation facilities.
The class of 108 men and 12 women is the fourth class of new recruits since the September 11 terrorist attacks. With today’s graduates, the number of officers added to the Port Authority force this year totals 439.
New York Governor George E. Pataki said, “These highly trained young men and women have undertaken the noble task of helping our great metropolitan area meet the need for greater security in the wake of the September 11 attacks. I know that as they perform their duties, they will be inspired by the incredible bravery and heroism of the 37 Port Authority officers and commanders who sacrificed their lives during the heroic rescue attempts of September 11.\"
New Jersey Governor James E. McGreevey said, “On September 11, 2001, the world saw how selflessly Port Authority police officers acted, as they rushed into the Twin Towers to save lives, even at the peril of their own lives. In 37 cases, they paid the ultimate price. We are grateful to these new officers for serving on the front line of our region’s defense at our region’s airports, seaports, bridges and tunnels, PATH and the Port Authority Bus Terminal.”
Today’s graduates join 83 new Port Authority officers who graduated on April 26, 2002, and the 236 new recruits who graduated on September 20, 2002. The loss of 37 Port Authority police officers on September 11, 2001, as they risked their lives to help evacuate the World Trade Center, 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, “We are extremely proud of these fine new officers, members of one of the best trained and most fit police departments in the country. They are fully prepared to take on one of the most important jobs in law enforcement, at a critical time in the history of our region and country.”
Port Authority Vice Chairman Charles A. Gargano said, “As the New York-New Jersey region continues its economic rebound from the events of 2001, these dedicated and highly trained new police officers will play a critical role in helping secure our recovery by providing tight security on the transportation network that supports and strengthens our economy.”
Port Authority Executive Director Joseph J. Seymour said, “Being a Port Authority Police Officer was a very tough job before the September 11 terrorist attacks. It is even more difficult now, as our region and our nation confront the threat of terrorism. That’s why the police training these new recruits have received is among the most comprehensive and specialized in the world and includes a new curriculum on counter-terrorism training. In fact, since September 11, our Police Academy has expanded its training by nearly 100 hours, much of which is devoted to counter-terrorism skills.
“In addition,” Mr. Seymour continued, “our officers have specialized emergency, life-saving and firefighting skills that enable them to perform as first responders to emergencies at our airports, bridges and tunnels and other facilities.”
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.
Superintendent of Police/Director of Public Safety Charles D. De Rienzo said, “The presence of these new officers will help us provide our customers, the traveling public, with a greater sense of security at the airports, seaports, tunnels, bridges, bus terminals, and in the PATH rail transit system. We welcome these officers to the Port Authority family as they help secure our region,” 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 Port Authority Police Department – now 1,691-strong, with the addition of today’s graduates – patrols facilities operated by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, including some of the busiest and most important transportation links in the region. Major facilities 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.