About the Port Authority Police Department

photo of Port Authority Police Academy graduates at their graduation ceremony

The Port Authority Police Force was created in June 1928 when 40 men were selected to police the Goethals Bridge and Outerbridge Crossing (then known as the Arthur Kill Bridge).

These original officers were known as Bridgemen, nine of whom were later promoted to the rank of Bridgemaster, or Sergeants, as we know them today.

As the Port Authority facilities increased in number, so did its police force. With the opening of the Holland Tunnel in 1927, the three metropolitan airports and Marine Terminal in the 1940s, the force rapidly grew. In the 1950s and 60s, with the metropolitan area moving more toward mass transportation, the Port Authority Bus Terminal opened. And the Port Authority assumed control of the PATH system formerly known as The Hudson and Manhattan Tubes. Today the Port Authority Police Department numbers over 1,700.

The Port Authority's three major airports, Newark Liberty International Airport, John F. Kennedy International and LaGuardia, handle more than 110 million air passengers, more than 1.3 million aircraft movements and more than 2.6 million tons of air cargo annually. Policing these aviation facilities involves a wide variety of duties. Police personnel cover screening points, respond to all aircraft incidents and aid travelers from all parts of the world. The president of the United States, Pope Benedict, foreign heads of state, and a host of other dignitaries have traveled through Port Authority facilities.

Port Authority Marine Terminal facilities handle thousands of ships carrying more than 32.8 million metric tons of cargo per year. Police operations at Port Newark/Elizabeth, and the Brooklyn Piers include everything from traffic control to the prevention and investigation of cargo thefts.

The Criminal Investigations Bureau consists of over 100 detectives and supervisors that are specifically trained for crimes occurring at transportation facilities. The Criminal Investigations Bureau has worked on computerized airline ticket fraud, and property and drug interdictions.

Port Authority Police headquarters is located in Jersey City and oversees all police operations. The Department is organized into individual operating units, or facilities, each headed by its own facility commander.

PATH is one of the most intensively patrolled transit systems in the world. Approximately 245,000 passengers move through the PATH system each day. In addition to uniformed and plainclothes personnel working throughout the system, stations are monitored by closed-circuit TV.

At the Holland and Lincoln tunnels; the Bayonne, Goethals and George Washington Bridges; and the Outerbridge Crossing, the Port Authority Police Officers' duties are patrol, traffic control, hazardous cargo inspections, truck weigh and emergency services, as well as enforcement for violations of motor vehicle laws. Police at these crossings have also instituted programs that maintain a constant campaign against drunk driving.

The Port Authority operates the largest and busiest bus terminal in the nation, accommodating 57 million bus passengers and more than 2.2 million bus movements in 2007. On a typical weekday, nearly 200,000 passenger trips passed through the PABT on 7,000 bus movements.

Police officers assigned to PABT provide a broad range of functions-everything from locating lost children to aiding everyday commuters-and are responsible for the general security of the facility. Police officer/social worker teams patrol the bus terminal and identify youngsters that may be runaways or missing persons. They provide crisis intervention counseling, placement with social service agencies and reunions with families when appropriate.

The Port Authority Police are a department of professional and dedicated men and women always ready to serve and protect the people who work at and travel through Port Authority facilities.


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