By David Cruz
There was a noticeably increased police presence at Newark Penn Station this morning, with heavily armed state, local and transit police on steady patrols. It’s a positive sign that, even while security was ramped up at key transit hubs, the commuting public went about its daily to and fro like it was any other Tuesday morning.
“This has been a normal day at NJ Transit,” said NJ Transit spokesperson John Durso. “The system has been operating on or close to schedule for most of the day. We have seen some additional screenings which have taken place at hubs such as here in Penn Station, but it’s not stopped our customers from going about their daily lives and we’re glad for that, and we encourage our customers to keep going about their daily lives.”
Around most of North Jersey, there were police at potential terror targets — including plainclothes officers, we’re told — as officials sought to reassure anyone who might still be concerned. In Jersey City, preparations for today’s opening of the farmers market at the PATH plaza were going forward as planned.
“We want everybody to go to work every day; patronize the businesses that they patronize,” said Jersey City Mayor Jerramiah Healy. “Of course, we want that but we’re gonna do it with some extra observance and extra caution.”
For the Mitchell family of Burlington County, no threat was going to stop them from their family cruise to Bermuda.
“I’m not going to let this put a damper on our vacation,” said a defiant Sean Mitchell. “My wife and I, we worked very hard for it. The kids are looking forward to the cruise and I’m just going to leave it in the Lord’s hands.”
Attorney General Jeff Chiesa, whose office oversees state police and Homeland Security, was going about his usual work today, too, announcing a gun buyback in Paterson. He said the threat level has been heightened but police agencies around the state were coordinating their efforts with federal officials and the governor’s office.
“We’re in the Northeast Corridor; we understand that we’re a densely-populated state. We understand that we’re close to New York. New York is taking steps; New Jersey is taking steps,” he noted. “Most importantly, we’re talking with each other on a real-time basis. And that went on last night; it went on this morning and it’ll go on through the rest of the day.”
Officials stress that there is no credible threat to New Jersey’s transit system but they say these security measures will remain in place until further notice.