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Henry DeGeneste

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Policing Transportation Facilities
Henry I. Degeneste  More Info

About the New York Port Authority Police Department

The Port Authority Police Force was created in June 1928 when 40 men were selected to police the Goethals Bridge and Outerbridge Crossing (then known as the Arthur Kill Bridge).


These original officers were known as Bridgemen, nine of whom were later promoted to the rank of Bridgemaster, or Sergeants as we know them today.


As the Port Authority facilities increased in number, so did its police force. With the opening of the Holland Tunnel in 1927, the three Metropolitan Airports and Marine Terminal in the 1940's, the force rapidly grew. In the 1950's and 60's, with the metropolitan area moving more toward mass transportation, the Port Authority Bus Terminal opened. And the Port Authority assumed control of the PATH system formerly known as The Hudson and Manhattan Tubes. Today the Port Authority Police Force numbers over 1600.


The Port Authority's three major airports, Newark Liberty International Airport, John F. Kennedy International, and LaGuardia, handle over 80 million air passengers, over 1.1 million aircraft movements, and over 2.5 million tons of air cargo annually. Policing these aviation facilities involves a wide variety of duties. Police personnel cover screening points, respond to all aircraft incidents, and aid travelers from all parts of the world. Escorting and protecting visiting dignitaries is provided for on a daily basis. The President of the United States, Pope John Paul II, and various other dignitaries and foreign Heads of State attending the United Nations have all traveled through Port Authority facilities.


The Port Authority Police are also responsible for fire fighting and crash emergency rescue at the three airports and for all other aircraft emergency incidents. Police personnel assigned to fire and rescue duty are highly trained in all phases of these functions including the operation of sophisticated and complex equipment, fire fighting vehicles and water rescue equipment.


Port Authority Marine Terminal facilities handle thousands of ships, over 14.5 million long tons of cargo per year. Police operations at Port Newark/Elizabeth, and the Brooklyn Piers include everything from traffic control to the prevention and investigation of cargo thefts.


The Department's headquarters is located in Jersey City, New Jersey, where managerial and command functions reside.


The nerve center of the force is the Central Police Desk, which is located at Journal Square. It is staffed around-the-clock and is the hub of the communications network. There, personnel are assigned to needed areas, all radio transmissions are monitored, and computer terminals are integrated into the NY & NJ Intelligence and Crime Information Systems as well as the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) in Washington, D.C. Information received from these sources is supplied to officers in the field when needed.

The Criminal Investigations Bureau consists of over 100 Detectives and Supervisors that are specifically trained for crimes occurring at transportation facilities. During the past year the Criminal Investigations Bureau has worked on computerized airline ticket fraud, and property and drug interdictions. They have seized over 10 million dollars of goods including 35 kilos of narcotics. Additionally, the Criminal Investigations Bureau has worked cooperatively with Local, State, and Federal agencies in the fight against crime. Some of these agencies include the New Jersey State Police, the New York City Police Department, United States Customs and Border Patrol and the United States Drug Enforcement Agency. Members of the Criminal Investigations Bureau also work as part of the FBI Joint Terrorist Task Force to prevent terrorist activities in the region.

Although our Police Headquarters located in Jersey City oversee all police operations, the force is organized into individual operating units, or facilities, each headed by its own facility commander, with each facility being unique.


The PATH system is one of the most intensively policed-rail transit systems in the world.

Approximately 200,000 passengers use the PATH system daily. The system's stations are monitored by closed circuit T.V. to aid police personnel in their patrol.


At the Holland and Lincoln Tunnels, the Bayonne, Goethals, and George Washington Bridges, and the Outerbridge Crossing, the Port Authority Police Officers' duties are patrol, traffic control, hazardous cargo inspections, truck weigh and emergency services, as well as enforcement for violations of motor vehicle laws. Police at these crossings have also instituted programs that maintain a constant campaign against drunk driving.

The Port Authority operates the largest and busiest Bus Terminal in the nation, accommodating 57 million bus passengers and over 2.2 million bus movements in 2001. Police assignments demand a broad range of functions, everything from locating lost children to aiding everyday commuters. They are responsible for the general security of the facility utilizing a variety of patrol tactics. Police Officer/Social Worker teams patrol the Bus Terminal and identify youngsters that may be runaways, throwaways, or missing persons. They provide crisis intervention counseling, placement with social service agencies, and reunions with families when appropriate.


Port Authority Police Academy recruits typically receive 20 weeks of intensive training in New York and New Jersey law, behavioral sciences, public relations, police practices and procedures, laws of arrest, court procedures and testimony. They are also trained in rules of evidence, defensive tactics, first aid, fire fighting, police patrol and traffic duty, firearms training, defensive and pursuit driving, water safety and rescue.


Throughout their careers, Port Authority Police Officers return to the Academy both for refresher courses and for training in new techniques added to the curriculum.


The Koebel Memorial Police Firearms Training Center is dedicated to the memory of Police Officer Henry J. Koebel, who was killed in the line of duty in May of 1978. The Police Academy utilizes state-of-the-art equipment where the staff operates eighteen shooting ports within this computerized firearms training facility. Features include moveable target lights and noise controls, shoot/don't shoot situations, as well as standard marksmanship instruction.


On February 26, 1993 and again on September 11, 2001 the Port Authority's World Trade Center complex was the target of terrorist attacks. Even though the complex housed over 50,000 employees and accommodated 70,000 visitors per day, the heroic efforts of the Port Authority Police, the New York City Police, the New York City Fire Department, New York City EMS, along with countless others helped to minimize the loss of life. The Port Authority Police suffered the worst loss of Police personnel in a single event in American history. Thirty seven Police Officers along with one Police K-9 made the ultimate sacrifice on September 11th.


The Port Authority Police force has evolved through a history of many challenges. They have developed into a force of professional and dedicated men and women always ready to serve and protect the people who work at and travel through Port Authority facilities.






Henry DeGeneste served as Vice President of Global Security at Prudential Financial for fifteen years. In that capacity he was the senior executive responsible for developing and managing the strategy and policies that addressed security for the firm and its subsidiary companies. He was a member of the firm's Crisis Management Committee. Prior to joining Prudential Financial, Henry DeGeneste had a distinguished twenty three year career at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey where he served as the Director of Public Safety and Superintendent of Police.


Henry DeGeneste received his Bachelors in Business Management from Adelphi University. He is a David Rockefeller Fellow and a Leadership New Jersey Fellow. Henry DeGeneste is also a graduate of the Federal Bureau of Investigation National Executive Institute IX, and of the Rutgers University Criminal Institute. Throughout his career he has held leadership positions in many national and international organizations, a small sample include. Commissioner on the National Commission for Accreditation of Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA), Chairman of the New York City chapter of the American Society of Industrial Security (ASIS), life member of the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) and a founding member of the Bankers and Brokers Security Roundtable


Henry DeGeneste has also served as an adjunct professor at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice and is a frequent guest lecturer at major colleges and universities as an expert on crisis and emergency management. Henry DeGeneste also has acted as a consultant to Scotland Yard, Interpol, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Henry DeGeneste has had numerous articles published in professional journals and co-authored Policing Transportation Facilities.

According to one reader of Policing Transportation Facilities, “Excellent, comprehensive overview of transportation policing. Addresses many of the problems facing transportation facilities as their managers deal with crime and security related issues. The text provides an excellent framework for problem solving in a transportation environment. Easy to read, good research and a valuable research and reference tool.”

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