Triborough Bridge and Tunnel Authority Police

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Triborough Bridge and Tunnel Authority Operations Force
TBTA Uniform Patch.jpg
Patch of the Triborough Bridge and Tunnel Authority Operations Force
Motto New York's Proudest
Agency overview
Formed 1978
Legal personality Governmental: Government agency
Jurisdictional structure
Operations jurisdiction* City of New York in the state of New York, US
Map of New York Highlighting New York City.svg
Map of Triborough Bridge and Tunnel Authority Operations Force's jurisdiction.
Legal jurisdiction New York State
General nature
Specialist jurisdiction Buildings and lands occupied or explicitly controlled by the institution and the institution's personnel, and public entering the buildings and precincts of the institution.
Operational structure
Headquarters New York, New York
Bridge and Tunnel Officers Approx. 700
Agency executive James Fortunato, Chief of Operations
Parent agency MTA Bridges and Tunnels
Bridges and Tunnels
Official TBTA Site
* Divisional agency: Division of the country, over which the agency has usual operational jurisdiction.

The Triborough Bridge and Tunnel Authority Operations Force is the law enforcement division of the Triborough Bridge and Tunnel Authority in New York City. It is responsible for protecting all facilities and surrounding area owned by the Triborough Bridge and Tunnel Authority, for enforcing state and city laws at all the facilities and the surrounding area, and for many non law enforcement duties, including collecting the tolls, towing disabled and wrecked vehicles off of the roadways, and clearing snow off the roadways. The TBTA currently has approximately 525 Bridge and Tunnel Officers, Sergeants, Lieutenants and Captains.

The Triborough Bridge and Tunnel Authority is a transportation and toll collection agency with many divisions.

The Operations Force (law enforcement division) is not part of the MTA Police. Bridge and Tunnel Officers are the law enforcement authority of the TBTA.


September 11 attacks and change of the department[edit]

Prior to the September 11 attacks in 2001, BTOs were unarmed unless they were the desk officer, a supervisor, making an arrest, or transporting revenue money. The reason for officers being unarmed was due to customer service concerns. A BTO's main responsibility was toll collection, with limited law enforcement tasks. BTOs mainly stood foot posts on the plaza, and RMP patrols were limited. Since September 11, the TBTA force's responsibilities and operation has increased dramatically. All officers, sergeants, lieutenants and captains are now armed at all times and the force is proactive in law enforcement responsibilities. The formation of several units also took place over this time, and many new law enforcement posts were created for day-to-day operations.

Incidents involving BTOs[edit]

  • In 2007, BTOs were involved in two shootings, on the Triborough and Bronx Whitestone Bridges, and assisted in the delivery of a newborn baby.[1]
  • On July 4, 2008, a man wanted for threatening the lives of two Washington DC Police officers and for an outstanding felony warrant in New York was arrested by a BTO at the Triborough Bridge on 125th street in Manhattan after recognizing the man from a BOLO poster.[2]
  • In August 2008, BTO Daniel Bell was fired for starting a dispute with Wilfred Rattigan, a driver at his toll booth at the Queens Midtown tunnel. Rattigan, an FBI Agent, handed Bell 3 crumpled one dollar bills which Bell refused to take, saying it was MTA policy and the driver would need to straighten the bills himself. A heated exchange ensued, after which Rattigan pulled a black bag on his lap. Bell asked what was in the bag, and Rattigan responded "A weapon - and here is my identification". Bell ordered Rattigan to take his hands out of his pockets, but he continued to pull out his identification. Bell then drew his firearm on Rattigan and the other people in his car, and ordered them to put their hands on the dashboard or the seat in front of them. Bell was seen on camera searching Rattigan's car, and within seconds eight other BTOs surrounded the car with their firearms drawn. Once it was confirmed Rattigan was an FBI Agent, he was sent on his way, and the next day he filed a complaint with the TBTA. A city administrative law judge heard the case, and Bell was fired for starting the dispute. It was later discovered that Bell received nine complaints in three years relating to rudeness.[3]

Possible merger into MTA Police[edit]

Because the Triborough Bridge and Tunnel Authority is a part of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, there has been discussion around incorporating the BTOs into the MTA Police. In the original draft of the creation of the consolidated MTA Police Department, the agencies that were originally to be merged were the Long Island Rail Road Police, Metro North Police, Staten Island Rapid Transit Police, and TBTA. TBTA officers were then removed due to issues in training, seniority and the completion of a NYS Police refresher course. BTOBA voted down any merger with the MTA Police. In 1998 the MTA Police Department was created by combining the Long Island Rail Road Police and Metro North Police. On July 1, 2005, the Staten Island Rapid Transit Police was absorbed into the MTA Police.



There are five titles (referred to as ranks) for the TBTA Operations Force:

Title Insignia Uniform shirt color
4 Gold Stars.svg
Captain insignia gold.svg
US-O1 insignia.svg
NYPD Sergeant Stripes.svg
Dark blue
Bridge and Tunnel Officer
Dark blue

Power and authority[edit]

Tbta officers are New York State Peace Officers authorized to execute warrantless arrests, perform car stops, issue summonses, carry a firearm and use physical and deadly force.


Recruit Officers attend the MTA Bridges and Tunnels training academy located on Randalls Island for 12 weeks. Recruits are trained in the use of a Glock 26 & 19 and receive training in accordance with New York State Municipal Police Training Council (MPTC) standards, New York City Fire Department training, NIMS training, Recognizing and Dealing with Weapons of Mass Destruction training, Radiation Detector training, American Red Cross First Aid/CPR training and MTA Bridges & Tunnels Training Academy.[4] All personnel receive annual in-service training in all topics, including, but not limited to: deadly physical force, firearms requalification, self-defense, arrest procedures and techniques, CPR/AED/first aid and all relevant updates regarding state, city and local laws.


Currently, the TBTA has the following units:

  • Patrol
  • Special Operations Division (SOD)
    • Collision Reduction Unit/Highway Patrol
    • Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Unit
  • Firearms Unit/Recruit Training (Academy Instructors)
  • Ceremonial Unit/Honor Guard
  • Operations Central Command and Control

The Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Unit was formed in 2008 with five officers and three sergeants currently assigned. The unit enforces all weight, hazardous material, cargo, and other restrictions set by NYS law and TBTA rules and regulations.


Currently, TBTA has personnel assigned at nine facilities operated by the TBTA.

The bridges and tunnels are:[5]


  • Foot posts/security posts at anchorages, vent buildings, plaza, and lane patrol.
  • CORT/SP Radio Car Patrols - These posts patrol facilities, the surrounding area, anchorages, vent buildings, streets and highways, and any other property owned by the TBTA. The main focus of these patrols are to enforce VTL and NYC Traffic rules and regulations, assist motorists and disabled vehicles, prevent and respond to crimes in progress and prevent acts of terrorism.
  • Sector Posts - RMP security posts to prevent trespassing on private property, entering closed lanes or levels, and preventing vandalism or other crimes.
  • Checkpoints - Conduct truck/vehicle checkpoints on or at the entrance of facilities to prevent any crimes from occurring.

Toll collection and non law enforcement duties[edit]

Currently, Officers collect tolls at all facilities. (temporary toll collectors are hired on a 1-year basis, and are usually rehired at the completion of 1 year). Temporary toll collectors have no law enforcement status and their sole responsibility is the collection of tolls.[6] Many Officers, if not most, depending on seniority and the facility, do not collect tolls.

Officers operate wreckers to remove disabled vehicles from the roadways and also perform firefighting and emergency rescue operations at the scene of an accident or fire. Bridge and Tunnel Officers only operate wreckers on weekends & holidays at the bridges, during the week bridge and tunnel maintainers operate the wreckers. Officers operate the wreckers full-time at the tunnel facilities. During snow storms they may be required to assist in the removal of snow off the roadways.[7]


The Achieving Collision Reduction on Bridges and Tunnels (ACROBAT) program was created to track and prevent auto accidents on the bridges and tunnels. This program also keeps statistics on summonses issued on bridges and tunnels, and what the charges were for.


Officers are equipped with a firearm, expandable baton, can of pepper spray, handcuffs, whistle, flashlight, reflective traffic vest, bullet resistant vest, radiation detector, and a radio that is directly linked to the Central Dispatcher and other officers.

Currently, all officers are equipped with a Glock 19 service weapon, and the Glock 26 is authorized for off-duty use.

The force uses Chevrolet Impalas for patrol and the Ford Police Interceptor Sedan and Utility, Chevrolet Caprice PPV, Chevrolet Suburban and Chevrolet Tahoe for Highway Patrol/SOD.[8] .[9][10]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Goldsmith, Samuel; Fermino, Jennifer (June 24, 2007). "'Delivers'". New York Post. Retrieved July 2, 2011. 
  2. ^ Lemire, Jonathan (July 4, 2008). "Triborough Bridge Walk Takes Toll on Fugitive - He Gets Arrested". Daily News. New York. Retrieved July 2, 2011. 
  3. ^ Blau, Reuven (July 20, 2008). "MTA Gunslinger Takes Tough Toll". New York Post. Retrieved July 2, 2011. 
  4. ^ BTO Benevolent Association page
  5. ^ Airport, Transit and Port Authority Police Cars website - TBTA page
  6. ^ MTA Job Description
  7. ^ Duties of Bridge and Tunnel Officers
  8. ^ TBTA Impala
  9. ^ TBTA Vehicles
  10. ^ TBTA Impala

External links[edit]