Press Release Article


Date: Mar 08, 2004
Press Release Number: 25-2004

Sergeant John O’Donnell, a 12-year veteran of the Port Authority Police Department, will be the grand marshal in the upcoming Bayonne St. Patrick’s Day Parade. The annual parade will be held on Sunday, March 21, 2004, beginning at 1 p.m.

Sergeant O’Donnell, a lifelong resident of Bayonne, was selected by the Bayonne St. Patrick’s Day Parade Committee to be this year’s grand marshal because of his strong record as a volunteer in the community.

Sergeant O’Donnell volunteers his free time at his local parish, St. Henry’s Roman Catholic Church in Bayonne, where he serves as a Eucharistic minister and webmaster for the church website. He also works with local youths in Cub Scout Pack 35, the Bayonne Police Athletic League, and he is an assistant football coach at St. Peter’s Prep High School in Jersey City, N.J.

Port Authority Superintendent of Police/Director of Public Safety Charles D. DeRienzo said, “Sergeant O’Donnell is the perfect example of what it means to be a true public servant, and we’re proud of his selection as grand marshal of the Bayonne St. Patrick’s Day Parade. He not only serves the people of this region in a law enforcement capacity, and spends much of his free time assisting those who live in and near Bayonne, underscoring the importance of being an active member in one’s community.”

Sergeant O’Donnell joined the Port Authority Police in May 1992. He is assigned to Port Authority Police Headquarters in Jersey City, and has worked as an officer at the World Trade Center, PATH, Newark Liberty International Airport and the Central Police Pool.

In 1993, Sergeant O’Donnell received a Medal of Valor for responding to the terrorist bombing of the World Trade Center in February of that year. Along with a group of several other officers, Sergeant O’Donnell carried disabled persons from the 55th floor to the ground floor and outside to safety.

Sergeant O’Donnell also has received four Commendatory Incident Awards for catching and arresting a shoplifter, assisting a worker who fell off scaffolding, thwarting an individual engaged in an act of burglary and successfully arresting a man who slashed two people on a PATH train in Hoboken in 1994.

On September 11, 2001, Sergeant O’Donnell had the critical job of staffing the police desk for the PATH system, where he dispatched officers to the Port Authority facilities, coordinated extra police response and disseminated information to family members of officers who were calling to check on their loved ones.

Sergeant O’Donnell and his wife of 18 years, Kathleen, have four daughters and two sons.

Created in 1928, the Port Authority Police Department has more than 1,600 officers and commanders. Its responsibilities include law enforcement, the protection of life and property, and the safety and security of all the Port Authority land, sea, air and rail facilities in the Port District.

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey operates many of the busiest and most important transportation links in the region. They include John F. Kennedy International, Newark Liberty International, LaGuardia and Teterboro airports; AirTrain JFK and AirTrain Newark; the George Washington Bridge; the Lincoln and Holland tunnels; the three bridges between Staten Island and New Jersey; the PATH (Port Authority Trans-Hudson) rapid-transit rail 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.

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