September 11, 2001 dawned a cool, clear, blue-sky, Indian summer day in New York City. The metropolitan area was in the midst of a typical rush to work morning, when suddenly everything changed forever. We lost 2749 loved ones, 35 million square feet of office and retail space and more than 65,000 jobs that morning. What didn't change was MTA Bridges and Tunnels (MTAB&T) collective mission for the MTA: to provide a safe environment for employees and safe transport for our customers. How we did our jobs and focus on the job at hand, and changes we have had to implement to continue our mission, is our discussion here. Needless to say our focus did shift to be even more intense and committed to safety and security.

That morning MTAB&T bridge and tunnel officers (BTOs) carried the title "Peace Officer" in New York State. In addition to collecting tolls, these officers perform the essential law enforcement functions on MTA B&T seven bridges and two tunnels and coordinate with other local, state and federal authorities in performing these duties. The title requires training and performance requirements, some with annual renewal criteria. Concurrently, the newly built and equipped Command Center was turned on. It had been completed ten days earlier and the new elite trained officers for the unit got on-the-job training. For a while it routed law enforcement communications, as the city's communication antennae installed on the top of the World Trade Towers came down as the buildings imploded.

Since 9/11 MTA Bridges and Tunnels Lieutenants, Sergeants and BTOs have increased their focus on safety and security along with overall customer service provided to more than 820,000 customers who use the agency's nine facilities every day.

The Lieutenants, Sergeants and Bridge and Tunnel Officers that are part of our workforce are one of the finest values in public service today. The diversity of tasks they undertake on behalf of our customers is unrivaled. Having a dedicated, multi-tasked workforce gives our customers the assurance they can expect prompt and appropriate assistance regardless of the problem they face.

Their responsibilities for the security of the agency's facilities have grown, including security checkpoints on the approaches to each bridge and tunnel. They also contribute by enforcing traffic and vehicle laws and regulations that promote safety and security. They direct traffic and where necessary, clear lanes for emergency vehicles.

When necessary, they enforce speeding and other traffic laws that exist to prevent in injury or property damage to other customers. Their efforts have contributed to an 11% reduction in vehicle accidents with injuries on the agency's facilities in 2003.

In 2003, these officers made 627 arrests for a variety of offenses including 441 arrests for Driving While Intoxicated that has earned them many honors from organizations like Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) for taking impaired drivers off the road.

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