A Family Tradition at the PAPD

By Lenis Rodrigues, Media Relations Staff

William Farfalla is celebrating his first day as a Port Authority Police Department (PAPD) officer today, but his ties to the department go way back – more than six decades, in fact.

Farfalla was one of seven “legacy” officers – following in the footsteps of family members who are current or retired PAPD officers — who graduated this morning as part of the 118th Police Academy class, in a ceremony at St. Joseph High School in Metuchen, N.J. The class adds 113 officers to the PAPD, raising the staff to 2,169 members, the highest level in department history.

Farfalla’s father Steve, currently a sergeant and serving as field instructor at the Police Academy, has been with the PAPD for 26 years. Farfalla’s grandfather Frank spent 38 years on the force before retiring in 1995 as a lieutenant. They joined the new graduate at the ceremony today to celebrate his entry into the department.

“It feels like a dream right now, because this was ultimately my dream,” said Farfalla, 26. “I wanted to be a cop, I wanted to carry on this tradition in my family. This is honestly one of the greatest feelings, to be able to carry on the tradition.”

In addition, Farfalla’s uncle and two cousins are also current members of the PAPD family. He said he would like to be stationed at PATH headquarters, where his father started his own career. As part of the family tradition, Farfalla will be wearing his father’s shield.

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The Farfalla family, then: from left, Frank Farfalla, son Steve and grandson William, son Frank Jr. and grandson Nick, who today is also a PAPD officer

Anthony Cannizzo, 24, is another graduate with the PAPD in his blood. His father John retired in 2007, after 21 years of service to the department. The elder Cannizzo assisted with 9/11 recovery efforts, and his son remembers his commitment to helping people in aftermath of the attacks.

Cannizzo realized about a year ago he wanted to make that career his own. “I wanted to give myself the best opportunity in life and follow in my dad’s footsteps,” he said. “I wanted to a part of something bigger than me.”

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The Farfalla family now (William is second from left)

Although he heard stories about Port Authority policing growing up, Cannizzo – who graduated from the University of North Carolina, where he studied Finance — said the PAPD Academy opened his eyes to the opportunities ahead of him.

“Everything was new to me,” he said. “I’ve always wanted to help people. In finance, I could help people over the phone. It’s different helping them one on one.”

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PAPD Supt. Edward Cetnar, John Cannizzo, and CSO John Bilich congratulate Anthony Cannizzo

Cannizzo said he hopes to be assigned to the Newark Liberty command, where John Cannizzo spent most of his career. He, too, will be wearing his father’s shield on the job.

Besides Falfalla and Cannizzo, five other new members of the department have a family connection:  Christopher Murphy’s uncle, now retired; Christopher Rivera, Kevin Fecanin and Dominick Barbato each have a brother on the force, and Wayne Clark’s cousin is currently a PAPD officer.

Today’s ceremony was the second part of the graduation ceremony. Graduates yesterday received their shields and IDs at the 9/11 Memorial and Museum at the World Trade Center. PAPD Superintendent Edward Cetnar reminded them of what it should mean to wear the uniform.

“The introduction to the museum is to remember the 37 PAPD officers who sacrificed their lives and what it means to stand on this sacred ground,” he said. “Never forget has always been our mantra and it is something we want to instill within you.”

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How We Work: JP Richer, Playing it Safe at Port Newark

By Abigail Goldring, Media Relations Staff

A Coast Guard reservist and father of three young kids, Senior Marine Terminals Operations Representative Jean-Paul Richer is no stranger to waking up with the sun. By 7 a.m., he’s already at Port Newark, where he can see from his office window cranes and forklifts piercing the blue skies just beyond vast lots of recently unloaded Toyotas.

Richer, who goes by JP, is charged with overseeing security operations at Port Newark, which includes managing its security plan and acting as a liaison between port tenants and the Port Authority — vital work that often goes unnoticed as people across the country buy their fresh produce and new cars every day.

While his mission is clear, every day brings different demands. One day, he’ll be meeting with the Coast Guard for their yearly audit, where the Port’s security plans are assessed. Another day, he might be leading up to 30 people in a tabletop exercise, conducted to ensure that Port Newark’s emergency procedures are up to date, or meeting with the Law Enforcement Working Group of local officers to keep up with work and procedures.

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Richer also embraces one of his other key roles: educating the public on Port Newark and giving tours of the facility, from the warehouses where not-from-concentrate orange juice is stored at 42 degrees Fahrenheit, to the giant mounds of salt for winter roads that were shipped in from India, to the piles of scrap metal being prepared for export.

“It’s so satisfying to know that I play a part in providing resources to the region,” Richer said. “You might not realize it when your Amazon package gets delivered to your door, but a lot had to happen for it to arrive there.”

His love of the water goes back to when he was a kid. Growing up in the small town of Millville, Mass., he enjoyed going to the beach with his grandparents and riding his uncle’s boat on a nearby lake. After graduating high school, he joined the Coast Guard. “I wanted to see the country, I wanted to serve my country, and I wanted to save lives,” he said.

Richer is still in the Coast Guard Reserves, leading training’s at the Sandy Hook station. In many ways, his role at the Port Authority is similar to his Coast Guard experience, just from a different vantage point.

“When I was out with the Coast Guard, I had no idea what was in all those boxes coming in and out of the ports,” he said. “Now, I have a much greater understanding of how all those ships contribute to the livelihood of the region.”

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Rich Laraway, the Deputy General Manager of New Jersey Marine Terminals, knows first-hand Richer’s dedication to his job. “JP has demonstrated time and again his willingness to support the needs of the facility, regardless of what they are and when they occur,” Laraway said. “He provides the management team with a wealth of historical best practices and situational knowledge that enable us to meet and exceed our security goals.”

For everyday citizens might not think about where their orange juice comes from or where the old TV goes after the dumpster, it’s people like Richer who contribute to the seamless flow of goods in and out of the United States.

“It’s my job to make sure our port is open, safe, and secure,” Richer said. “It’s an honor to come to work every day.”

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Richer participates in a port clean-up program

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At Newark Airport, Building from the Ground Up

By Abigail Goldring, Media Relations Staff

If you asked Vicky Dugan 30 years ago what she thought she’d be doing today, working on a Newark Liberty International Airport paving crew probably would not have been the answer.

Dugan is the only woman on the Port Authority’s paving team, which last night put the finishing touches on one of the most extensive paving jobs in the airport’s history. For three 12-hour overnight shifts in a row, Dugan and her fellow team members restored the busy roadway in front of Terminal B as part of Operation Smooth Ride, a two-year effort to make improvements that enhance travelers’ experiences from the minute they enter the airport.

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Dugan says that the people she works with make the job especially enjoyable. As the only woman on the paving team, she has become a trusted and caring colleague. “I want everyone to feel comfortable and know that they can come to me for anything,” she said.

Her first job out of high school didn’t suggest that she would become a highly respected member of the airport’s Structural Maintenance group. She was a clerical aide on the 69th floor of the World Trade Center. By day, she kept track of toll collections. By night, she took classes to get a degree in accounting.

But two major events would shape the trajectory of her life. The first was the 1993 WTC bombing. After experiencing that traumatic event, she decided she couldn’t work at the Twin Towers location anymore. Second, she took a General Maintainer class offered by the Port Authority. Though busy with both work and school, she was determined to pass the class, because she had a longtime passion for repairing things

“I never doubted my ability to keep going,” she said. “And if it wasn’t for that class, I wouldn’t be in maintenance today.”

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Dugan is in her 13th year on the paving crew. When she’s not on the airport roads, Dugan can be found anywhere from the runways to parking garages to taxiways, sealing cracks or filling holes to preserve the integrity of the many essential surfaces across the airport.

“Vicky’s a major asset to this team,” said Ronny Smith, Maintenance Group Supervisor and head of Newark Airport’s paving group. “She’s always ready to help out, whether that’s with me in the shop on the clerical side, or out in the field at any hour of any day.”

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Sealing cracks in the pavement on a taxiway

Since the death of her husband several years ago, she says she has become more self-sufficient, motivated to learn new skills and support her own maintenance needs such as taking care of her home by herself and helping friends and family when they need it.

Most recently, she repaired her mother’s car and closed her father’s pool for the year. “The guys at work were shocked I was able to do that. They said that most of the men they knew wouldn’t be able to do that!” Dugan said. “It makes me feel good that I can figure out how to fix things, and it’s rewarding when I do it.”

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