Preparing the PAPD’s Best to Handle the Worst

By Lenis Rodrigues, Media Relations Staff

On a recent fall morning, the quiet of the Bayonne waterfront was broken by a swarm of Port Authority Police officers descending upon the old cruise terminal in response to a report of a shooter. The officers, in full tactical gear and armed with rifles and Glock pistols, fired their weapons, barricaded the suspect and were able to apprehend him within minutes.

While the action that unfolded that day appeared real, it was actually one of the newest training programs taught to PAPD officers and those from other law enforcement agencies to help prepare them for terroristic threats. The PAPD is responsible for policing some of the nation’s busiest transportation facilities, and every facility presents unique challenges in dealing with an active threat — whether an airport, tunnel, bridge, train or even an office space.

“This training is a part of an ongoing, comprehensive effort by the agency to help improve security at all of our facilities,” said PAPD Chief of Police Emilio W. Gonzalez. “It’s an extremely challenging task, but we continue to practice and train for emergencies for the safety of the public.”

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The training program was implemented in September and is being incorporated into the officers’ future training. It includes a five-day training course that encompasses response to an active threat, downed officer rescue techniques, emergency trauma care and rescue task force concepts.

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The training was led by the PAPD’s Emergency Service Unit (ESU) but it included various commands, as well as officers from police departments in Jersey City, Paramus, Northvale and Union City in New Jersey and the Bergen County Sheriff’s Office. The sessions are critical to maintaining ongoing relationships with the PAPD’s mutual aid partners, as they would serve as a backup in emergencies.

PAPD’s emergency training was recently profiled by local news broadcasts:

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NBC NY

During the training session, the first thing the officers learned was how to stop the threatening individual from continuing to harm others. Officers not only are trained to neutralize the threat, but to save people’s lives through medical treatment. As the group of officers worked together to find and neutralize the threat, an officer dragged an “injured” mannequin to safety and initiated efforts to stop the wounds from bleeding.

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“Not only do we have to stop the threat, we have to save people’s lives,” said PAPD ESU Sgt. Daniel Dias, a 25-year EMT veteran. He stressed that in these scenarios, the gunshot victims’ deaths are not caused by the gunshot wounds but from loss of blood.

Each PAPD officer has access to a basic first aid kit. But the PAPD Special Operations officers carry an active shooter kit able to treat up to 15 injured people. The most important tool in the kit is the tourniquet which can tighten and restrict blood flow in as quickly as 20 seconds.

“Our role in continuing to train these officers and civilians focuses on empowering them to respond and react during a high impact situation where life threatening injuries exist,” said Michael McCabe, the Tactical Medical Coordinator assisting PAPD with its training.   “We want to ensure that all officers have a baseline knowledge in bleeding control techniques and basic first aid that will enable them to save as many lives as possible.”

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Photos by Luiz C. Ribeiro

Posted in PAPD, Uncategorized

Newark Liberty Vending Machines Dispensing Local Flair

By Cheryl Albiez, Media Relations Staff

With the holidays right around the corner, passengers traveling through Newark Liberty International Airport now have a chance to purchase unique, locally made gifts right from a vending machine.

These aren’t your average mass produced key chains and tchotchkes. SouveNear vending machines – like an indie craft fair in a box – showcase items that don’t just have the name of the city where they’re located. Rather, these mementos reflect the community and the people that make the region vibrant.0076

SouveNEAR partners with local artists who capture the essence of the area to design and locally produce items such as t-shirts, jewelry, soaps, pins, patches and chocolate that are sold through repurposed snack machines. Newark Liberty is the company’s first East Coast location.

The Port Authority is working with hundreds of certified minority, women-owned, small, and disadvantaged business enterprises (MWSDBEs), such as SouveNEAR, in various projects both large and small.

With small business as the backbone of the economy, the Port Authority has a longstanding commitment to ensuring that local businesses have the opportunity to do more work with the agency, an important goal in driving the economic prosperity of the region. And the potential customer base is powerful, with an estimated 43 million passengers coming through the airport last year alone.

“Providing this kind of access to this many potential customers not only supports the work of those who live here, but also promotes their talents, while offering our passengers products that were actually made in the city they just visited,” said Port Authority Aviation Director Huntley Lawrence.

“Certainly the New York City/New Jersey metro area is a natural fit for us, with the number of tourists and the lively creative scene,” said SouveNEAR co-founder Tiffany King. “SouveNEAR aims to support local artists by increasing their visibility in tourist-filled venues, and to offer travelers interesting local options when they’re looking for souvenirs.”

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The menu of locally produced food, clothing and other and products is far-ranging, from artistic ventures such as Annie Draws Stuff, a maker of temporary tattoos and stickers, and chocolate-covered pretzels created by Fatty Sundays to the Loop Collection, an eco-friendly clothing line for babies and kids, and with offices in Brooklyn and Scotch Plains, N.J.

The company placed its first machine in the Kansas City International Airport in 2014 to help travelers buy last-minute souvenirs that were actually designed and produced in the city. It has since expanded its operations to include the new Salesforce Transit Center in San Francisco, a Marriott in Emeryville, Cal., and the Oakland, Cal. airport.

Said Aurelien Coste, who manages SouveNEAR’s New York and New Jersey operations: “We hope Newark Airport passengers will appreciate having a unique selection of gifts and souvenirs made right here in New York and New Jersey.”

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Posted in EWR, Newark, Newark Liberty International Airport, Uncategorized

The New Harrison Welcomes a 21ST Century PATH Station

By Ron Marsico, Director of Media Relations

Harrison, the one-time New Jersey industrial town in a state of transformation hard by the banks of the Passaic River, yesterday celebrated the opening of its gleaming new steel and glass PATH rail station for the 21st century.

Where abandoned brick warehouses symbolizing the passing of the town’s 1950s and 1960s heyday once stood, there is now the Red Bull soccer stadium flanked by townhouses, condos and sleek shops, sprouting like spring floral shoots in a town revamped for economic growth.

Amid Harrison’s rebirth is the newly opened first section of the $256-million Port Authority PATH station, a dream of the town’s late Mayor Raymond McDonough, who envisioned a 21st century station to replace the deteriorating structure that opened smack in the middle of the Depression in 1936. McDonough died in office in 2014, but his widow, Constance, unveil a plaque in his honor outside the facility.

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A 21st century PATH station comes to Harrison

To mark the opening, Port Authority Chairman Kevin O’Toole, Executive Director Rick Cotton, New Jersey Lt. Gov. Sheila Oliver, U.S. Rep. Albio Sires (D-8th Dist.), Hudson County Executive Tom DeGise and current Harrison Mayor James Fife, joined with PATH General Manager/Director Michael Marino and PATH Deputy Director Clarelle DeGraffe and other dignitaries. Following tribute speeches, they clipped a blue ribbon to officially open the new facility.

“He had a vision for this place called Harrison, which not a lot of us really shared,’’ said O’Toole of McDonough, who served 20 years as the town’s mayor. “He was a pioneer.  He understood. He had the vision.”

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    Constance McDonough, widow of the late Harrison mayor, leads ribbon-cutting ceremony

Yesterday’s station opening along the westbound side of the PATH tracks completes the first of a four-phase redevelopment, which will bring a similar glass and steel station to the eastbound side by mid-2019 and then a renovation of two existing nearby station buildings. Use of the Harrison station has soared in recent years, jumping 25 percent since 2012 with nearly 2.6 million riders in 2017.

The airy, light-filled station with high ceilings includes weather-protected entrances/exits, elevators, escalators and widened stairs. Other amenities include PATH’s first “countdown clocks” that tell passengers when the next trains will arrive, as well as extended platforms to accommodate 10-car trains on the Newark-WTC line in the future.

Harrison Mayor Fife called the new PATH station “the diamond stone’’ that will anchor the continuing redevelopment of Harrison.

Cotton praised community officials for supporting the agency’s efforts on the project.

“We are dedicated to upgrading the legacy facilities to improving the customer experience, and to doing all we can to modernize and move our transportation systems up the curve,’’ he said.  “You can’t do a project unless the local community supports it.”

Lt. Gov. Oliver, who fondly recalled trips to the hardscrabble town when her mother worked for RCA in Harrison in the 1970s, expressed wonder at the Harrison of the 2010s.

“I am amazed at the transformation of Harrison, New Jersey,’’ said Oliver, calling the new station a cornerstone of that progress. “Economic development is going to come with that. Business expansion is going to come with that.”

O’Toole assessed the woefully outdated and crumbling old station succinctly.

“It is not fit for mankind,’’ he said, drawing laughs and quickly turning his attention to the brand-new station behind him on the speaker’s podium. “This is what Harrison deserves.’’

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Chairman O’Toole addresses crowd at station opening

Posted in Harrison Station, PATH, Uncategorized