For Port Authority Veterans, A Special Category of VIP

By Media Relations Staff

At the Port Authority’s Office of Emergency Management (OEM) headquarters in Jersey City, a new internship program is helping smooth the transition for veterans making the often challenging move from military to civilian life.

Israel Estrada and Jannia Manigault, Marine Corps veterans, and former Navy corpsman Kadeem Short are the inaugural class of OEM’s Veterans Internship Program (VIP), under the direction of OEM Director Gerard McCarty and Special Assistant Chuck Aaron. Launched in August, the pilot program not only recognizes the special skills veterans possess, but applies their professional strengths and experience to helping build emergency response strategies for the benefit of PA customers, employees and assets.

“This environment really supports our interns, which is key,” said McCarty, who also served in the Marines. “The transition to civilian life is something we feel very strongly about helping them achieve.”

Internship requirements are that participants must commit at least 16 hours a week on average to the program, while continuing their studies fulltime at a college or university. The OEM curriculum includes intensive training in active shooter and other responsive drills hosted by the Port Authority, as well as emergency management operations, strategic preparedness and hazard mitigation.

Estrada worked for a non-profit organization in Pasadena, CA. before heading east to pursue a master’s degree in in Emergency Management at the University of New Haven in Connecticut. Short is studying Homeland Security and Emergency Management at Post University in Connecticut and will start his master’s program next summer. He most recently was based at the  Naval Station in Portsmouth, Va.

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Israel Estrada, Chuck Aaron and Kadeem Short (l-r) at OEM


Manigault, who deployed to Afghanistan in 2011 for a tour of duty, is close to earning a bachelor’s degree in Homeland Security from St. John’s University and intends to pursue a master’s in Business Analytics. Like her VIP colleagues, she is receiving an extensive education in the ways OEM plans and conducts its operations.

“I may have not known what I was getting into when I started this internship, but if I continue on this path I know that it will indeed be a rewarding experience for me on a professional and personal level,” she said. “I get to continue helping people in some way, while learning to become more knowledgeable in my field.”

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Jannia Manigault, part of the first OEM Veterans internship program


Said Estrada: “There’s so much to learn here. We have access to a level of training that we wouldn’t otherwise be able to get. The great benefit of working at the Port Authority is the level of training, discipline and planning we receive.”

“It means a lot, that they’re taking the initiative for veterans,” added Short. “Working here is a great opportunity for all of us, to get the kind of experience we need.”

Aaron is a Marine veteran who conducted tours of Iraq and Afghanistan and later taught infantry officers at the military training facility in Quantico, Va., before joining the OEM. Overseeing the internship program, he said, is a source of daily inspiration.

“We work for them. They don’t work for us,” Aaron said. “We’re here to get them what they need.”

Posted in OEM, Port Authority Veterans Association, Uncategorized, Veteran's Day, veterans, Veterans Day

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