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article imageNYPD and Port Authority police in jurisdictional clash over WTC

By Shawn Kay     Jan 31, 2013 in Politics
New York - The Port Authority has decided to nix a 2008 security agreement that would have given the NYPD primary police jurisdiction at the new World Trade Center. However, the NYPD is protesting the PA’s about-face and is insisting that it honor the 2008 bargain
Executive officials at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey are planning to back out of a 2008 security agreement it made with the New York City Police Department (NYPD) that would have allowed that law enforcement agency to have primary jurisdiction at the new World Trade Center (WTC) on policing duties ranging from normal police patrols and security to anti-terrorism.
The Port Authority, a bi-state agency controlled jointly by the state governments of New Jersey and New York, owns and operates the WTC.
The agency maintains its very own police force – the Port Authority Police Department (PAPD) – which currently has primary jurisdiction at the site.
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie appears to be playing a star role in the derailment of the security agreement and the NYPD’s ambitions to obtain supreme jurisdiction at the new WTC.
An exclusive in the New York Post reveals that Governor Christie mentioned the deal at a political event last week where he accepted the endorsement of the police union of the PAPD.
According to the Post, the New Jersey Governor proclaimed:
Never – not ever on my watch – will there be any other police force who will patrol the new World Tlrade Center than the Port Authority police.
Port Authority of New York and New Jersey Police Department K-9 Unit police car in Lower Manhattan.
Port Authority of New York and New Jersey Police Department K-9 Unit police car in Lower Manhattan.
Top officials at the Port Authority as well as the offices of New Jersey state Governor Christie and New York state Governor Andrew Cuomo, have reviewed the security agreement, and decided to back out of it because the Port Authority and the NYPD have yet to complete a Campus Security Plan. The plan, a comprehensive document outlining the jurisdictional guidelines for the two police departments, was a requirement for the security agreement which was originally signed by both the NYPD and Port Authority on August 12, 2008.
Though spokesmen for both Christie and Cuomo declined to comment on the matter, people close to both Governors have confirmed the Port Authority’s plan to nix the four-year security deal with the NYPD.
Insiders note that both governors have long shared a very strong dislike for both NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
In particular, Christie’s disdain of Commissioner Kelly and the NYPD is well known.
The animosity that the New Jersey Governor has towards Kelly is believed to stem directly from the secretive and highly controversial post–9/11 surveillance operations conducted by the NYPD’s Intelligence Division on mosques and Muslim communities throughout the Garden State without the knowledge and consent of local police departments or the New Jersey State Police.
The NYPD has also conducted spy-like operations on Muslim communities throughout New York state and Pennsylvania.
In a 2012 interview on 101.5 FM, a local New Jersey radio station, Christie took the NYPD to task over its secretive operations outside of its official jurisdiction:
This is the New York Police Department. I know they think their jurisdiction is the world. Their jurisdiction is New York City. My concern is this kind of obsession that the NYPD seems to have that they’re the masters of the universe.
The surveillance operations also drew the ire of officials in the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) who have publicly said that the NYPD’s controversial activities outside its legal jurisdictional territory may have seriously compromised ongoing terrorism investigations in New Jersey.
While it is not exactly clear how much – if any – of a factor the NYPD’s recent cloak and dagger operations in New Jersey influenced Christie’s role in nixing the security deal, it is very clear that the Governor is no fan of Kelly and his police force.
In place of the NYPD, the Port Authority intends to continue using its own police force to patrol and provide protection at the new WTC.
However, the NYPD is crying foul and has insisted the Port Authority honor the 2008 security agreement. Frustrated NYPD officials note that there are binding agreements that the Port Authority cannot simply back out of or walk away from.
NYPD spokesman Paul Browne informed the Post:
There are agreements in place between the city and the Port Authority that define the policing powers and responsibilities.
During a special guest appearance this past Monday on Good Day New York, a local weekday morning news show, Commissioner Kelly indicated that the NYPD would not back down.
New York City Police Department (NYPD) police car in Times Square - Midtown Manhattan at night.
New York City Police Department (NYPD) police car in Times Square - Midtown Manhattan at night.
William Hoiles
“It’s going to be a great fight,” a Port Authority source told the Post.
However, there may be some hope of salvaging the security agreement. Steve Coleman, a Port Authority spokesman released a public statement in which he was quoted as saying the Port Authority-NYPD agreement remains unfinished and officials “are actively working on” it.
If the Port Authority and NYPD are unable to come up with a resolution the matter could eventually end up in court.
Cop Versus Cop: The World Trade Center and the NYPD-PAPD Rivalry
The nixing of the security agreement is yet another chapter in the long-running turf war between the NYPD and PAPD over who will be the principal guardian of the new WTC.
The battle of the badges between the NYPD and PAPD is directly linked to WTC security and dates back to 2006.
Commissioner Kelly, who yet again became the subject of national intrigue and controversy when he bragged about the NYPD’s supposed capability to shoot down aircraft threatening NYC airspace during a 2012 interview with 60 Minutes, has privately argued the Port Authority police force was ill-equipped to protect the new World Trade Center.
The NYPD is currently responsible for security in the area immediately surrounding the WTC site while the PAPD is responsible for the inner perimeter which includes the National September 11th Memorial and Museum and the actual office buildings at the complex.
The NYPD wants more of a presence as well as more control of the inner perimeter and has reportedly spent the past few years trying to muscle in on the PAPD’s official turf.
Port Authority Trans-Hudson or PATH train passing through an industrial area in New Jersey while in ...
Port Authority Trans-Hudson or PATH train passing through an industrial area in New Jersey while in route to the transportation hub and terminal at the new World Trade Center in Lower Manhattan. PATH is a rapid transit railroad serving Newark, Harrison, Hoboken and Jersey City in metropolitan northern New Jersey and Manhattan in New York City. It has an average weekday ridership of 259,100. It is operated by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.
Trevor Logan
Dozens of officers from both police departments currently patrol the highly prestigious 16-acre site around the clock.
In 2008, both the NYPD and Port Authority agreed on a security plan that would give the NYPD lead jurisdiction at the new WTC.
Under the original agreement, the NYPD would have dedicated as many as 600 officers to guard and patrol the site, as well as oversee security screening, vehicle access and manage anti-terrorism operations.
Though the security agreement severely curtailed the PAPD’s jurisdictional powers at the WTC, the deal was still viewed as a positive outcome as it allowed that police department to maintain a presence and play a role in security at the site.
Prior to the agreement, it was believed that the NYPD was jockeying to take over police operations entirely and have the PAPD banished from the WTC.
However, the recent decision by the Port Authority management to renege on the agreement would strongly suggest that the agency has reconsidered giving into the NYPD’s requests for jurisdictional supremacy at the new WTC which would have left the PAPD all but jurisdictionally impotent.
Though the WTC is owned and operated by the Port Authority, the NYPD shares concurrent jurisdiction with the PAPD at the site. However, it is the PAPD which currently holds lead jurisdiction at the WTC in matters ranging from routine police patrols and emergency response to criminal investigations and anti-terrorism.
The new World Trade Center is due to be completed and open to the public in autumn of 2014.
Bound Brook  NJ  September 18  1999 -- members of Port Authority Police Department s (PAPD) Emergenc...
Bound Brook, NJ, September 18, 1999 -- members of Port Authority Police Department's (PAPD) Emergency Service Unit go house to house to make sure no residents were trapped in their homes in the aftermath of a storm that brought severe flooding to the area. The PAPD occasionally provides assistance to local police departments in New Jersey which are mostly small-town agencies that lack the resources and expertise of police departments in large cities.
Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)
World Trade Center Considered Hallowed Ground for Both NYPD and PAPD
The WTC is considered sacred ground for both the PAPD and NYPD.
When al-Qaida plunged hijacked commercial airliners into both towers at the World Trade Center on the morning of September 11, 2001, droves of officers numbering in the hundreds from both the PAPD and NYPD responded.
Police officers from both of those agencies worked together and performed valiantly with firefighters and paramedics, evacuating thousands of frightened office workers, commuters, shoppers, and bystanders from the twin skyscrapers at the World Trade Center as well as the surrounding complex.
Though over 2,800 lives would be tragically snuffed out in the attack, officials acknowledge that countless thousands more would have been lost if emergency responders had not so effectively guided people to safety in what has been referred to as the largest rescue operation in U.S. history.
Of the 72 law enforcement officers slain in the line of duty at the World Trade Center in the 9/11 attacks, 37 belonged to the PAPD while another 23 were from the NYPD.
Because of 9/11, the Port Authority police force holds the historical and dark distinction of being the American law enforcement agency that has lost the most officers in a single day.
Freedom Towers - New World Trade Center
Freedom Towers - New World Trade Center
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