New Jersey Transit Police Department
|New Jersey Transit Police Department|
|Common name||New Jersey Transit Police|
|Patch of the New Jersey Transit Police Department.|
|Legal personality||Governmental: Government agency|
|Operations jurisdiction*||States of New Jersey and New York, USA|
|Legal jurisdiction||New Jersey and New York|
|Specialist jurisdiction||Commuter transit systems and immediate environs, rail, tram, ferry, bus, etc.|
|Headquarters||Newark, New Jersey|
|Non Sworn Employees||67|
|Agency executive||Chief of Police
|Parent agency||New Jersey Transit|
|* Divisional agency: Division of the country, over which the agency has usual operational jurisdiction.|
The New Jersey Transit Police Department (NJTPD) is a transit police force for the New Jersey Transit Corporation in the state of New Jersey. It is a general authority police agency with state wide jurisdiction, with the primary focus on policing the numerous bus depots, rail and light-rail stations throughout New Jersey.
The New Jersey Transit Police Department is the only transit policing agency in the country with statewide authority and jurisdiction. The department was created on January 1, 1983, and it evolved as a result of the passage of the Public Transportation Act of 1979 and subsequent legislation on the state and federal levels. At that time, the original complement included thirty-nine Commissioned Rail Police Officers. On January 12, 1990, NJSA 27:25-15.1 was enacted into law, and it established the New Jersey Transit Police Department as a sworn law enforcement agency with the "general authority, without limitation, to exercise police powers and duties, as provided for police officers and law enforcement officers, in all criminal and traffic matters at all times throughout the State..." The authorized strength of the Department includes 260 sworn officers and 67 non-sworn members (which include Fare Enforcement Inspectors) serving the more than 500,000 commuters who use the NJ Transit system daily. In addition to NJT's rail and bus network, the New Jersey Transit Police is responsible for policing NJT's Hudson-Bergen Light Rail and RiverLINE systems.
The New Jersey Transit Police Department has its headquarters located at One Penn Plaza East, Newark, New Jersey. However, the department has many different districts located over the entire state to provide coverage to New Jersey Transit's extensive system of railways and bus terminals.
Organization and operations
Each of the regional commands provide different police services for their geographical area they cover, the different divisions within the department can be categorized as the following,
- Patrol - By far the largest operation within the department. The patrol division provides general law enforcement services to those utilizing the New Jersey Transit System as well as providing a presence to deter crime.
- Detective Bureau - Investigates threats directed towards the transit system and crimes committed on transit property.
- Special Operations - Encompasses different units such as the Emergency Services Unit, Conditions Tactical Unit, and the K-9 unit.
- Emergency Services Unit - This unit was formally called the JUSTICE Team (renamed in 2011), which was NJTPD's high visibility enforcement unit who was assigned to "Impact" zones which are New Jersey Transit properties and stations which have experienced a surge in crime. This ESU unit has extensive training in numerous fields such as, SWAT to include high risk warrant service, barricaded subject, and hostage rescue, rope/high angle rescue, train/vehicle extrication, firefighting duties, scuba diving, and are all hazmat technicians.
- Administration / Support Services - The higher-ranking officers who are responsible for reporting the daily operations to the New Jersey Transit Corporation itself, as well as the responsibility for overseeing the day-to-day functions of the department. Includes the Training Unit.
The NJTPD has the following rank structure, in descending order:
|Title||Insignia||Uniform Shirt Color|
|Detective / Police Officer||
One of the primary missions of the New Jersey Transit Police Department is the prevention of terrorism on all of New Jersey Transit's trains and buses. This is especially relevant since the 2004 terrorist attacks of the transit system in Madrid, Spain.
After September 11, 2001, the Essex County Sheriff's Bomb Squad had a tenfold increase in requests for bomb detection. This caused a problem for New Jersey Transit, according to the agency’s then police chief, Mary F. Rabadeau. At Penn Station in Newark, the transit authority had been dependent on the Essex County Sheriff's bomb squad to respond to every bomb threat or suspicious parcel. That disrupted the station, sometimes for hours, having an immense impact on transportation in the area, because the station is host to hundreds of daily Amtrak and New Jersey Transit trains, plus two rapid transit lines and intercity and local buses. The best resource the agency could provide with the most apparent and immediate impact was canine bomb-detection teams. After interviewing people at other agencies that had their own canine bomb-detection squads, New Jersey Transit chose the Essex County Sheriff's Office to train the transit police on New Jersey Transit property—on trains and buses and in stations and other facilities where the teams would be working. The program was fairly inexpensive, using dogs that had washed out of seeing-eye training but were calm and obedient—fine for bomb detection. New Jersey Transit customized three road vehicles so that the teams could operate statewide, presenting themselves without notice. By patrolling Penn Station, the teams have "hardened it as a target and are welcomed by passengers, said Rabadeau". Because a large percentage of bomb alerts turn out to be false, the fast response minimizes disruption to the flow of trains and passengers. The teams also give demonstrations at schools and terminals and provide assistance to other agencies.
During his tenure, former Governor James McGreevy helped dramatically expand the counter-terrorism capabilities of the New Jersey Transit Police. The governor allowed the purchase of a Police Mobile Command Vehicle, which is a 40-foot (12 m) transit bus converted into a mobile response unit for the New Jersey Transit Police Department. The vehicle contains outside phone lines, a fax machine, portable computers and printers, and an on-board radio system with several frequency bands to communicate with other law-enforcement agencies, as well as other regional transit agencies. The following measures were also enacted:
- New Jersey Transit has increased uniformed and plain clothes police train patrols
- New Jersey Transit has created special operations units which specifically focus on high visibility patrol and counter terrorism
- New Jersey Transit significantly increased the number of New Jersey Transit Police K-9 units – which are trained to detect explosive devices.
- New Jersey Transit purchased belt clip-on radiation detectors as well as other explosive and radiological material detecting equipment to ensure that all of its regional police commands and officers throughout the state are equipped to detect explosives and radiological matter.
- The New Jersey Transit Police Department launched the "If you see something say something" campaign and has activated telephone and text message hotlines to accept anonymous calls and text messages of suspicious activity and/or persons on New Jersey Transit equipment or property.
- The New Jersey Transit Police Department provides counter terrorism and behavioral analysis training to all its officers.
- Significantly increased the number of its uniformed and plainclothes police officers at stations, on board trains and in road patrol units. Officers ride trains randomly at any given time during the day. New Jersey Transit Police are protecting passenger facilities, maintenance facilities and infrastructure.
- The New Jersey Transit Police Department has established vehicular checkpoints at several stations and terminals, particularly where deliveries are accepted.
- New Jersey Transit Police are alternating patrolling methods and locations on a daily basis to include uniform and plain clothes officers, facility checks conducted by officers on motor patrol and proactive sweeps by special operations units .
Criticism and issues
In 2002, a study released by former New York City Police Commissioner William J. Bratton concluded that the New Jersey Transit Police was not prepared to handle a terrorist attack. The report said the agency's then 120-member force lacked the training to protect New Jersey Transit's 400,000 daily bus and rail commuters. The report, which was completed in the fall of 2001, recommended the creation of divisions to monitor troubled train stations and to crack down on fare-beating. In response, a Justice Team was created and there was an extensive hiring blitz for new police officers. Since the study, the department has considerably added onto its counter-terrorism capability with the creation of many new units and the issuance of better technology to its patrol officers. For example, each transit police officer was issued a personal radiation detector. The department has refused to send officers to the Wildwood bus terminal in Cape May County despite problems there 
Uniform and equipment
The New Jersey Transit Police "Class A" uniform shares a minor resemblance to the uniform of the New Jersey State Police. However, New Jersey Transit Police wear a badge on the left side of their chest.
Officers in Special Operations wear a B.D.U. uniform and tactical outer vest. During special events and training, other members of the department wear B.D.U.'s as well. Patrol Officers wear a traditional police uniform with leather duty gear.
The standard issue firearm for the New Jersey Transit Police is the Sig Sauer P229 chambered in .40 S&W. New Jersey Transit Police also utilize the Heckler and Koch UMP 40 submachine gun, Remington 870 police magnum shotgun, and Colt M4 police carbine rifle. Department snipers assigned to the Emergency Services Unit utilize the Remington 700 Sniper rifle.
The New Jersey Transit Police utilize many different vehicles in their fleet. Among the vehicles are the Ford Police Interceptor, Chevrolet Caprice, Ford Explorers, Dodge Durangos, Chevrolet Tahoes and Chevrolet Suburbans. Transit Police officers also ride the buses and railways to provide more direct policing. In addition, the NJTPD has several minibuses outfitted as mobile command centers at strategic locations. In 2011, the agency recently received a Pierce Hybrid Rescue/Pumper truck which is capable of going off road and onto the rails where needed.
- Amtrak Police Department
- List of law enforcement agencies in New Jersey
- New York City Transit Police
- New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority Police Department
- Port Authority of New York & New Jersey Police Department
- Essex County Sheriffs Office
- Homelandsecurity.org, July 2002, Accessed August 29, 2007.
- New Jersey State Legislature, March 2003, Accessed August 29, 2007.
- NJTPD K9 Unit Patch
- New Jersey State Legislature, March 2003, Accessed August 29, 2007.
- "Briefing: Transportation; Transit Police and Terrorism" The New York Times, March 10, 2002. Accessed August 29, 2007.
- New Jersey Transit 2005 Annual Report, p 15.
- "Transit Police needed at terminal" Cape May County Herald
- NJTPD Ford Crown Victoria Police Interceptor
- NJTPD Dodge Durango
- NJTPD Minibus
- NJTPD Minibus
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