By Lenis Rodrigues, Media Relations Staff
It was during her early years patrolling the Port Authority Bus Terminal that Gloria Frank fell in love with police work, beginning a career that would lead her to the top echelons of the Port Authority Police Department.
On patrol at the terminal in 1999, then-Police Officer Frank had committed to memory the description of a man wanted for rape. It led to her noticing the man outside the terminal and putting him under arrest. Later, she found out the suspect was wanted for multiple rapes, and today he’s serving a 50-year sentence.
From those formative days and accomplishments at the bus terminal, the PAPD veteran now is Assistant Chief Frank, overseeing the Port Authority airports, the New Jersey Marine Terminal and the Bayonne Cruise Terminal.
“This position has presented new challenges on a daily basis, and I love a challenge,” Frank said. “Being one of the first African-American woman in this position has not only brought me satisfaction but soulful pride. I get to share my gifts and inspire every other African-American to show that they too can succeed.”
Police work wasn’t something she dreamed about growing up. “Never thought of being a cop in this whole wide world,” Frank said. “Never, ever thought about it.”
Early on, she wanted to be a nurse, like her mother. But she started her professional career as a case worker with the New York City Department of Child Protective Services before becoming a New York City probation officer. Her path was turning toward law enforcement; she joined the PAPD in 1998.
Frank has served in a variety of assignments since, including stints at the George Washington Bridge, World Trade Center, and PATH, in addition to her tours of the airports and bus terminals. Her leadership ascent was steady. She was promoted to sergeant in 2005 and became a lieutenant in 2008, landing an assignment as tour commander at the World Trade Center (WTC). In 2012, she earned a promotion to inspector and a year later was named an assistant chief.
Her calling card is skilled management, coupled with innovative thinking. Frank is credited with establishing the first active shooter full-scale exercises at Port Authority airports, followed by the establishment of department-wide protocols. She pioneered the Mass Electronic Notification System, which alerts the PAPD’s mutual aid partners with initial and vital information, directing necessary resources to manage emergency incidents.
“Chief Frank serves as a role model for all women and men in law enforcement,” said Port Authority Chief Security Officer John Bilich. “She has led the charge for numerous critical quality of life initiatives at our airports that has made travel safer for millions of our customers.”
“After 22 years, the chief continues to bring unique perspectives to the job every day,” said PAPD Superintendent Edward Cetnar.
Frank is equally proud of her Caribbean heritage. Her mother was a nurse, and she was very close to her father, a seaport executive in Grenada. “My parents are who I am today,” she said. She visits Grenada every chance she gets.
During her free time, Frank enjoys watching Disney and reading books with her daughter Gabriella (who she calls Gigi). “Perhaps the most important accomplishment, assignment and responsibility is being a mother to a beautiful three-and-half-year-old daughter,” she said.