‘You’ll see us everywhere and anywhere’ – Meet the Port Authority’s Commercial Vehicle Inspection Unit
Thousands of trucks travel in and out of New Jersey on a daily basis – and there is one group of law enforcement officers whose job is to make sure everything is safe on the roadways.
“You'll see us everywhere and anywhere,” says Port Authority Police Sgt. Rudy Fernandez.
Meet the department’s Commercial Vehicle Inspection Unit – an elite group of officers who enforce the rules of the road.
“We are the only sworn agency - that means police agency - other than the state police of New York and New Jersey that can enforce these laws,” Fernandez says.
Thirteen officers cover the roads, bridges, tunnels, airports and ports of New Jersey and New York, pulling over trucks to inspect them.
“We check everything from brakes to steering to load securement to all the pieces of equipment on the truck itself,” says Officer Francis Franco.
The unit makes sure that the weight of the truck is correct, and that the driver hasn’t been on the road too long and has the proper credentials.
But they are also trained in other areas, like hazmat. The teams carry around decontamination tents just in case they encounter any dangerous materials.
“We also are the fatal crash investigators for the Port Authority police,” says Fernandez.
They are also trained in counterterrorism, and can respond to events if needed. They also keep an eye out for potentially dangerous cargo on the trucks they stop.
But the group says that truck inspections are their main focus.
“The work that these guys do, taking dangerous trucks off the roads, saves countless lives,” says Fernandez.
The team inspected 1,800 vehicles last year and took 470 out of service for a variety of violations.