Date: May 01, 2003
Press Release Number: 58-2003
The Port Authority Police Department continued its aggressive recovery and rebuilding efforts today as a new class of 108 police officers graduated from the Port Authority Police Academy in a ceremony at Fairleigh Dickinson University.
The graduates – members of the Academy’s 106th Class – will help to bolster the bistate force, which has seen its responsibilities for securing the agency’s facilities greatly increase over the past 19 months.
The class is the fifth to graduate from the Police Academy since September 11, 2001, when 37 heroic Port Authority Police officers and commanders were killed while responding to the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center. The new class brings to 547 the number of officers graduated by the Academy since the September 11 attacks.
The class of 89 men and 19 women received specialized counter-terrorism training during the academy’s eight-week program, as well as training in traditional police skills. The 108 recruits also received training in specialized areas such as firefighting and the use of portable heart defibrillators to revive victims of cardiac arrest. The new officers will begin to patrol Port Authority facilities immediately.
New York Governor George E. Pataki said, \"As these new officers begin their duties, they will be inspired by those PAPD officers who came before them – particularly those who rushed into the World Trade Center on that terrible day and made the ultimate sacrifice, honoring the badge and the oath that today’s graduates receive. They are indeed our front line. And, we entrust these new officers, as we do all levels of our brave and hard working law enforcement, in this critical role, keeping the people of our region safe.\"
New Jersey Governor James E. McGreevey said, \"We are grateful to these new officers as they begin to serve on the front line of our region’s defense at our airports, seaports, bridges and tunnels, PATH and the Port Authority Bus Terminal. On September 11, 2001, the world saw how selflessly Port Authority Police officers acted as they rushed into the Twin Towers to save lives. The world will never forget the 37 officers and commanders who made the ultimate sacrifice.\"
Port Authority Chairman Anthony R. Coscia said, \"These graduates are now 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 our country.\"
Port Authority Vice Chairman Charles A. Gargano said, \"These dedicated and highly trained new police officers will play a critical role in helping to secure our economic recovery by providing tight security throughout the transportation network that supports and strengthens our economy.\"
Port Authority Executive Director Joseph J. Seymour said, \"We are confident in the ability of these brave men and women to ensure the safety and security of our customers. We also have revised our training program to reflect the changing needs of our region by expanding the scope of training they receive to include almost 100 hours devoted to counter-terrorism skills.
\"In addition, our officers possess specialized emergency, life-saving and firefighting skills that enable them to act as first responders to emergencies at our airports, bridges and tunnels and other facilities,\" Mr. Seymour said.
Port Authority Superintendent of Police/Director of Public Safety Charles D. De Rienzo said, \"The presence of these new officers will help us provide 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.\"
The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey operates some of the busiest and most important transportation links in the region. They include John F. 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 also owns the 16-acre World Trade Center site in Lower Manhattan. The Port Authority is financially self-supporting and receives no tax revenue from either state.