Press Release Article
HIGHLY DECORATED TRANSIT POLICE COMMANDER
NAMED NEW CHIEF OF PUBLIC SAFETY AND EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT
Date: Apr 22, 2004
Press Release Number: 48-2004
Michael O’Connor, a 30-Year Law Enforcement Veteran, Will Lead Safety/Emergency Initiatives in Newly Created Position
In its continuing efforts to ensure safety and security for its customers, the Port Authority today announced the appointment of Michael O’Connor to the position of Chief of Public Safety and Emergency Management.
In this new position, Mr. O’Connor will be responsible for leading a comprehensive public safety program and coordinating the offices of Public Safety and Emergency Management. Mr. O’Connor will begin his new position on May 3.
Port Authority Chairman Anthony R. Coscia said, “The position was created to facilitate coordination between the Department of Public Safety and the Department of Emergency Management in this post-September 11 atmosphere we all live in. During his career, Michael O’Connor has held virtually every major position of responsibility within the ranks of the New York City Transit Police Department. His vast experience with protecting transportation infrastructure is an asset that will benefit the nearly one half billion travelers who use our facilities annually.”
Port Authority Vice Chairman Charles A. Gargano said, “As Police Chief of the New York City Transit Authority, Michael O’Connor accomplished an unprecedented 50 percent reduction in crime in New York City’s subways. His experience will serve the people who use Port Authority facilities each day as he bridges two of the most critical departments of this agency.”
Port Authority Executive Director Joseph J. Seymour said, “The Port Authority operates an extensive transportation network that includes airports, tunnels, bridges, a rapid-transit rail system, bus terminals and ports. Events such as September 11 and even more recently, the blackout of last summer, have taught us a great deal about preparedness and responsiveness. In this new position, Michael O’Connor will have the task of overseeing the important relationship between public safety and emergency management.”
Prior to joining the Port Authority, Mr. O’Connor held the position of Senior Vice President of Operations for the Alliance for Downtown New York, where he was responsible for the agency’s day-to-day operations. He also served as Senior Vice President and Chief of Police for the New York City Transit Authority, where he was in charge of nearly 4,500 police officers; Chief of Detectives; and Commanding Officer of the Inspectional Services Division.
Mr. O’Connor, a Vietnam War veteran, earned many commendations during his years as a police officer, sergeant, lieutenant and captain. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from the State University of New York and is a graduate of the prestigious FBI National Academy, where he completed specialized police training in Executive Strategic Management, Hostage Negotiation, Security and Loss Control, Minority Relations and Terrorist Investigations. He also attended the New York Institute of Technology, John Jay College of Criminal Justice and Bernard Baruch College.
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.