Port Authority changes recruit age limit

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The Port Authority is forgoing its rule on an age limit of 35 to entice Iraq and Afghanistan veterans to apply for its 2014 class of 175 police officers.

Those "who have served overseas have military experience" and have "learned invaluable skills on how to deal with people," said Joseph Dunne, chief of security for the Port Authority.

The Port Authority's new drive allows veterans to deduct as many as six years of active-duty service from their age, meaning 41-year-olds are eligible to apply.

"Security has increased and we are on guard for terrorism attacks, which makes our infrastructure targets," Dunne said. The Port Authority's 1,600 member police force is part of the Joint Terrorism Task Force.

"Look what happened in Boston. We are still fighting this and we will be for the next 100 years. Our veterans are equipped to meet these challenges," Dunne said.

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This is the Port Authority's first major recruitment in six years. And in 2002, the Port Authority graduated and hired 236 officers from its academy. The agency lost 37 officers in the attack on the Twin Towers on 9/11.

Applicants must be at least 19 years old to take the test, and must be at least 21 to enter the academy. Candidates must also have at least 60 college credits or two years of continuous military service with an honorable discharge. The recruitment effort runs from May 10 to June 17.

Port Authority police protect four airports, four bridges, two tunnels, the Manhattan bus terminal, the PATH rail system, the harbor ports in New York and New Jersey, and the 16-acre World Trade Center site.

"We even have a firefighting unit at our airports," Dunne said.

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