PANYNJ Press Release
The Port Authority Police Department welcomed 124 new police officers to its ranks today following the graduation of the 117th Police Academy class, raising the number of officers to a department-record 2,117 members and reaffirming the Port Authority’s commitment to the highest level of safety for the traveling public.
The newest class includes 85 college graduates and 14 military veterans, while 31 graduates have prior law enforcement experience. In the agency’s ongoing commitment to building a diverse department that reflects the metropolitan region the Port Authority serves, the graduates speak a total of 12 languages. Hispanics, African-Americans and Asian-Americans make up nearly 30 percent of the graduating class.
Port Authority Executive Director Rick Cotton, Chief Security Officer John Bilich and PAPD Superintendent Edward Cetnar attended the ceremony held at the Dunn Sports Center in Elizabeth, NJ., offering congratulations to the officers and their families. Nine new officers have parents or other relatives who serve or have served with the PAPD.
“Public safety is a top priority of this agency. It is our duty to ensure that we give travelers peace of mind by providing them the highest level of police protection,” said Port Authority Chairman Kevin O’Toole. “These new recruits will help us fulfill that mission.”
“Today’s graduating class will carry on the proud tradition of service with one of the nation’s most respected law enforcement agencies,” Cotton said. “The Port Authority Police Department plays an essential role in ensuring a safe traveling experience for the tens of millions of people who use Port Authority facilities. We salute the entire department and welcome its newest members.”
As part of their 26-week training sessions, the new graduates studied the laws of both New York and New Jersey and received comprehensive instruction in police procedures, firearms usage, First Aid and counter-terrorism techniques. They also received training from a Holocaust survivor to help them examine the roots of prejudice and intolerance and apply those lessons to police work.
“During the past six months, these new officers have received some of the most extensive training of any police department in the country,” Bilich said. “We welcome them to the Port Authority Police Department, where they will be entrusted with protecting and securing one of the busiest transportation hubs in the world.”
“These new officers are tasked with protecting millions of travelers each day, and we are confident they are prepared to handle one of the most challenging jobs in law enforcement today,” Cetnar said. “
The PAPD is responsible for ensuring the safety and security of the agency’s land, sea, air and rail facilities, which include airports, bridges and tunnels, the Port Authority Bus Terminal, the PATH rail system, regional ports in New York and New Jersey and the 16-acre World Trade Center site.
Anyone interested in joining the department is encouraged to access the website through PAPDrecruit.com.