Last year, Joe Dunne, a 32-year NYPD veteran, was appointed to the newly created position of chief security officer of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. Specifically, he’s in charge of all the Port Authority’s security and public safety issues, including its 1,700-man police department. Now six months into his new role, what challenges has he faced in securing one of the most visible ports in the world?


What was the most rewarding part of your career with the NYPD?

My promotion to and tenure as the Chief of Department for the NYPD was the most rewarding part of my police career. In that position, I was the highest ranking police commander in the department with responsibility for coordinating and managing the performance of all operational units in the agency that, at the time, was over 40,000 strong. Crime reduction strategies, local precinct and detective operations, narcotics enforcement initiatives, traffic control and the policing of large parades and demonstrations were all coordinated from the Office of the Chief of Department. During my time as Chief of Department, crime reduction strategies resulted in the continued reduction of crime that continues today and has made New York City the safest large city in America.


During your career with the NYPD, you were known for building strong community relations. Why is that important? How will you do that at the Port Authority?

The Declaration of Independence states, in part, that “Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.” There is nowhere this principle is more relevant than in policing. Police agencies owe the communities they serve courteous, professional and bias-free policing. Without the respect of those we serve, a police agency can never really succeed in its mission. Respect breeds cooperation, effective dialogue and understanding. Open dialogue and problem solving with the community becomes possible, negative stereotypes disappear and real community problems are identified and addressed.

Meeting with my colleagues throughout the Port Authority and learning how my office can best serve their needs is critical to my success. Devising and executing a security plan is complicated and must address agency-wide concerns, and the only way to learn and understand what these issues are is to listen and learn. Having the support of the line department “community” is critical to our success. Also, developing cooperative relationships with agencies outside the PA sphere is necessary to accomplish a more far-reaching security program that protects our physical assets, employees, visitors and customers.


What are some of the challenges that you have identified with security in the Port Authority?

The PANYNJ Board of Directors has established Security as the number one priority of the Agency. There are numerous security-related initiatives and programs established and operating throughout the enterprise such as physical hardening of critical infrastructure, greater  use of technology solutions and improvement of concepts of operations. The task is to bring these varied programs under one roof so that we can improve their effectiveness and realize efficiencies. As an example, efforts must be made to better coordinate police department and civilian security operations to enhance performance and increase the level of protection.


What would you like to accomplish by the end of 2013?

I would like to have a fully staffed Security Department that is prepared to provide the means to protect the Agency’s employees, customers and critical infrastructure by developing, managing and implementing security programs that protect life,  property, vital assets and maintain the Port’s economic competitiveness.


What types of new technology will the  Port Authority employ to secure its operations?

The PA is always examining and evaluating the latest technology solutions and considering how they can best be integrated into our layered security program.


What can people who use the port’s airports, bridges, etc. expect to see with regards to security?

The public will continue to see the highest level of security that is now provided by the Port Authority. Most of the security enhancements will be non-intrusive and subtle with many in the technology area.