STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. -- With a toss of their white gloves, eight Staten Island residents took their place among 83 newly minted officers who graduated Friday from the Port Authority's Police Academy.
The officers, who comprised the academy's 115th class, were welcomed to the force during a ceremony at Farleigh Dickinson University in Teaneck, N.J.
"This graduating class has chosen one of the most demanding and critical jobs in law enforcement today," said John Bilich, the Port Authority's acting chief security officer in a statement. "The PAPD is the reason our airports, tunnels, bridges and transportation systems operate at such a high level of safety and security."
The three bridges that link Staten Island to New Jersey -- the Bayonne Bridge, the Goethals Bridge and the Outerbridge Crossing -- come beneath the Port Authority's jurisdiction.
The new class is a diverse bunch.
They speak a total of 11 different languages, including American Sign Language. There are 73 college graduates, seven military veterans and 36 graduates with prior law enforcement experience.
Hispanics, African-Americans and Asian-Americans comprise 29 percent of the class.
The class, which spent 26 weeks at the academy, became the first police academy class to receive training from the Alzheimer's Foundation of America. Such knowledge will help them recognize cognitive impairment and better assist travelers.
The officers learned the laws of New York and New Jersey, and trained in police procedure, firearms use, counter-terrorism techniques, first aid and computer-tablet use.
The Port Authority Police Department has about 1,800 officers.