NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey on Wednesday announced disciplinary action against 44 agency police officers for allegedly shirking their duties while on the clock.
The 44 officers — accounting for approximately one-third of the PATH rail system’s command — allegedly stayed in break rooms and missed patrols while on the clock, according to the Port Authority Inspector General’s Office.
While conducting routine inspections in May, the Chief Security Officer’s Quality Assurance & Inspections Unit became aware that numerous officers were obviously off post, which prompted further investigation.
The investigation was referred to the Office of the Inspector General, whose investigation uncovered major transgressions.
The probe originated at the Hoboken PATH station and eventually focused on officers assigned to PATH police details at several stations in New Jersey and New York.
The transgressions allegedly stem from officers failing to perform routine patrol duties during their shifts. The majority of, but not all, of the incidents occurred on the midnight-8 a.m. shift, according to the Inspector General’s Office.
The investigation uncovered video which showed several officers were spending more than six hours of their shift in a break room.
In one case, an officer spent more than seven hours of a shift away from his post, according to the Inspector General’s Office.
Some of the suspected officers were assigned overtime on heightened security details due to terror threats that occurred nationally and internationally, according to the Inspector General’s Office. In some instances, officers assigned to these doubled up posts were allegedly observed off-post.
The PATH’s top commander was reassigned in November as a result of the internal review.
“The allegations against these officers are extremely serious and we believe they have let down the public they are sworn to serve,’’ said Inspector General Michael Nestor. “We will seek to take significant action against those officers who violated the public trust.”
The PATH police command is responsible for around-the-clock coverage of the PATH rail system, which serves nearly 80 million passengers annually.
All 44 cases are currently pending, none of the officers have settle any of the disciplinary charges against them.
The Port Authority Police Department’s Office is determining the disciplinary action that will be taken against the officers while the Inspector General’s Office is evaluating whether some of the cases should be referred to local prosecutor offices.