PAPD Services

The Port Authority Police Department (PAPD) is proud to serve the region and its people by making sure that every one of the Port Authority's customers, commuters and employees is safe.

The PAPD provides a wide array of services necessary to protect millions of people that use Port Authority facilities and services. Its capabilities range from traditional emergency services to commercial vehicle inspection, from K-9 patrol to aircraft rescue. Read further to find out how the PAPD keeps us safe.

  • Emergency
    Services
  • K-9
    Patrol
  • Motorcycle
    Unit
  • Aircraft Rescue
    and Firefighting
  • Commercial
    Vehicle Inspection
  • Defibrillator
    Program

Emergency Services

Emergency Services Police Officers

In 2005, the Special Operations Division was created to oversee all Port Authority Emergency Service Police Officers. Members of the Emergency Service Unit undergo specialized training to enhance response capabilities during emergent conditions that arise at all Port Authority facilities, as well as in response to special requests to assist with incidents outside of the agency's jurisdiction.  Emergency Service Unit staff is assigned to various facilities throughout the Port District to address any and all security, safety and emergency conditions that may arise on a daily basis. ESU police officers receive highly specialized training in a number of areas including railway and bridge emergencies.

In 2008, the Port Authority Police Emergency Service Unit became a full partner in the Metro Urban Search and Rescue Strike Team. The unit completes numerous training iterations and joint operation initiatives with nine other member departments throughout the calendar year.

K-9 Patrol

photo of a Port Aurhority K-9 Officer and his dog

The Port Authority Police K-9 Unit was created in 1984 as a patrol dog program. The original unit consisted of nine teams assigned primarily to the Port Authority Bus Terminal and PATH facilities. The Explosive Detection Team was added in 1996 in response to the crash of TWA Flight 800 in Long Island along with the first Narcotics Detection Team.   Each of these units is assigned to the Police Department's Special Operation Division.

The K-9 Unit consists of dozens of Police Officer and three Police Sergeant Handler teams.   These teams are divided into two areas: experts in the field of explosive detection and narcotics detection. K-9 teams patrol all Port Authority facilities on a daily basis. In recent history, the Port Authority Police K-9 Unit has grown to become one of the largest and busiest in the country. The K-9 Unit deploys daily to all Port Authority facilities.

Selection and acceptance into the K-9 Unit is contingent on officers passing a demanding physical assessment, medical screening, interview process and the completion of a 400-hour training course. Officers are trained by either the Transportation Safety Administration at Lakeland Air Force Base in Texas, or locally by the K-9 Unit Training Staff.

The Port Authority Police K-9 Unit is viewed as a leader in all K-9 training disciplines, and is highly respected across the region. The Unit also has trained more than 40 outside agencies.

Noteworthy high-profile details performed by members of the Port Authority Police K-9 Unit include:

  • Presidential, dignitary and papal visits
  • The United Nations General Assembly
  • Drug Enforcement Agency task force operations
  • K-9 sweeps during the execution of state and federal search warrants
  • K-9 sweeps of all Port Authority facilities during periods of high terror threats

Motorcycle Unit

photo of a Port Authority Police Motorcycle Unit on the streets of downtown Manhattan

The Port Authority Police Motorcycle Unit was established in early 2000. In 2005, the Unit was incorporated into the Special Operations Division. Before transferring into the Unit, members of the service are mandated to complete a rigorous 80-hour training program conducted by Northwestern University Public Safety/Harley Davidson Inc. Upon selection and transfer into the Motorcycle Unit, Officers are assigned individual Harley Davidson Police Electra Glide Motorcycles.

The Motorcycle Unit is responsible for patrolling all Port Authority tunnels, bridges, airports, bus terminals and marine terminal facilities. The Unit's primary duties are traffic enforcement, funeral details, VIP movements, accident investigations and parking lot security.

Aircraft Rescue and Firefighting

photo of an actual Police Academy crash emergency rescue training drill

Port Authority Police are responsible for training and execution of firefighting and crash emergency rescue at Port Authority airports and for all other aircraft emergency incidents. Twice a year, officers undergo rigorous training to achieve and maintain Federal Aviation Administration certification.

In June 1998, the Port Authority Police Department opened an Aircraft Rescue and Firefighting Fuel Spill Trainer Facility at John F. Kennedy International Airport, which was one of the first in the nation. One of the largest of its kind in the U.S., the facility is used to train Port Authority Police officers for emergency situations in aircraft rescue and firefighting techniques, in a controlled environment.

The centerpiece of the training center is a Specialized Aircraft Firefighter Trainer (SAFT). This 125-foot diameter pit employs clean-burning propane to simulate a fire, and is used as a teaching aid for handling various types of fires. It also features a 75-foot-long aircraft mock-up with a broken wing section. Computer controls allow for the creation of firefighting scenarios that vary in size, difficulty and intensity.

Each year, more than 600 Port Authority Police Officers are cross-trained as aircraft rescue firefighters for the region's three major airports-John F. Kennedy International, Newark Liberty International and LaGuardia airports, and the agency's general aviation facility, Teterboro Airport. Port Authority Police also train operations personnel assigned to Stewart International Airport, as well as other area airports in aircraft rescue and firefighting.

We are proud to note that the Port Authority Police Department is often a model for firefighting and crash emergency rescue. Other agencies from around the world come to our facilities to learn from our training techniques.

Commercial Vehicle Inspection

photo of a Port Authority Police Officer inspecting the contents of a delivery truck

The Port Authority Police Commercial Vehicle Inspection Unit was formulated in early 1998. The original Unit consisted of six police officers trained and certified to enforce The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration Rules and Regulations, which governs the safe interstate transport of all vehicular commercial traffic.

The Unit's primary focus is the removal of unsafe trucks from public roadways and the enforcement of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration Rules and Regulations, which now includes terrorist intervention within the commercial motor vehicle industry.

The Commercial Vehicle Unit performs radiological screening across all Port Authority critical infrastructure, river crossings and airports, hazardous material interdiction initiatives, technical decontamination operations in support of the Emergency Service Unit and heavy weapons training.

Members of the Commercial Vehicle Unit receive extensive training in the following disciplines:

  • State and federal statutes governing weight and dimension parameters
  • FMCSA Motor Coach Rules and Regulations
  • FMCSA Hazardous Material Transportation Rules and Regulations
  • Postaccident investigation
  • Commercial Motor Vehicle Interdiction Training

The Commercial Vehicle Unit employs state-of-the-art inspection and weight enforcement equipment. This equipment includes Haenni handheld scales, Intercomp mobile deck scale systems and mobile motor coach inspection ramps.

The combination of advanced training and updated equipment provides the tools necessary to effectively and efficiently remove unsafe trucks from the public roadways and enhance the mitigation efforts directed at a commercial-vehicle borne terrorist attack.

Defibrillator Program

photo of two Police Officers at a Port Authority airport

The Port Authority Police Department began its successful defibrillation program in 1997. In 1999, under the direction of the late Captain Kathy Mazza, the program was expanded to equip all of its facilities with life-saving portable defibrillators.

The program was launched in 1997 at John F. Kennedy International Airport with three defibrillators placed on airport-based ambulances. Since that time, 1,200 defibrillators have been placed in all Port Authority facilities and more than 1,700 police officers have been trained in how to use them. To date, 50 lives have been saved by Port Authority Police using the portable defibrillators.

Captain Mazza was killed in the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks during a rescue operation at the World Trade Center.


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