Old Bridge man named

Port Authority chief

Staff Writer

Christopher TrucilloChristopher Trucillo


Staff Writer

OLD BRIDGE — Life will never again be the same for law enforcement officers throughout the country as the result of 9/11.

Thousand of lives were lost within minutes in New York City that day, including police officers, firefighters and other rescue workers, triggering an intensive war on terrorism, a battle that is still raging worldwide.

Nobody realizes this more than Old Bridge resident Christopher Trucillo, 47, the new chief of departments for the Port Authority Police Department, with facilities in both New Jersey and New York.

Trucillo, who has risen through the ranks since becoming a Port Authority police officer in 1986, was named to his new position on Feb. 6. He now oversees a force of 1,550 men and women.

Port Authority facilities in both states include bus terminals, airports, bridges and tunnels. These include the Port Authority Bus Terminal in New York City, Newark Liberty International Airport, the Lincoln and Holland tunnels, the George Washington Bridge and Bus Station, and many other facilities in what is defined as the "Port District," centered on the Statue of Liberty. All of them are considered to be prime targets for potential terrorists.

"The job of every police officer in the country has been changed forever since 9/11, especially for those who serve with the Port Authority," Trucillo said. "Thirty-seven brave men and women from the Port Authority police force lost their lives that day. That’s the single largest loss of life in one day for any police department in our country’s history."

The events meant that police work could no longer be done in the traditional way.

"Our job has become more formidable now that we are dealing with the threat of terrorism, especially at Port Authority facilities where we have people coming and going all the time. I’m counting on all of our men and women of the Port Authority police to rise to the occasion. I am confident that they will," he said.

Trucillo has resided since 1990 in Old Bridge, where he lives with his wife, Cidalia, and two daughters, Jessica, 11, and Nicole, 8.

"We have been very happy living in Old Bridge," Trucillo said.

He began his career in law enforcement as a police officer in his hometown of Harrison, Hudson County, 25 years ago, in September 1978.He joined the Port Authority police force in 1986, where he first served in the central police pool, being assigned to a number of the authority’s facilities.

Trucillo was promoted to sergeant in the early 1990s and was assigned to the busy Port Authority Bus Terminal in New York City, a facility that was undergoing a tremendous transformation at that time, he said.

Before 1990, the bus terminal was one of the city’s worst eyesores and was dangerous as a haven for panhandlers and would-be muggers to travelers who ventured into it. It served as a shelter for homeless people, many of whom preyed on travelers using the facility.

"Our police and city social services teamed up for a project called ‘Operational Alternatives,’ a campaign to clean up the facility and terminate its use as a shelter," Trucillo said. "The difference in conditions there today, compared to what it was in the old days, is like day and night. We are proud of the bus terminal today."

Trucillo, meanwhile, continued a steady climb through the ranks of the Port Authority police force through the 1990s serving as lieutenant, captain, inspector and finally, chief.

"The last couple of years have been a tremendous challenge for our police force," Trucillo said. "The hours on duty have been long for our people. Only last June were we able to come off 12-hour days for our members."

Trucillo praised the public for its positive response to police following the 9/11 disaster.

"I hope the public continues its level of cooperation with us," the new chief said. "We are all Americans and all of us are in this together. The level of post 9/11 cooperation from the public has been tremendous."