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New York - CBS: Man Jumps GWB While Guards Snooze

Published on: September 1, 2009 07:23 PM
By:  CBS 2 TV
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New York - On Monday the whistle was blown on two private security guards caught napping at their posts on the George Washington Bridge.

But as CBS 2 HD found out, that’s not the worst of it. The two GWB workers caught may asleep on the job may just be the tip of the iceberg.

Port Authority of New York and New Jersey sources told CBS 2 HD there are many incidents involving these guards. One guard reportedly lost his job for playing canned laughter over the police radio frequency so the cops couldn’t talk to one another. In another instance a guard was reportedly asleep when a man walked by and jumped to his death of the bridge.

“It’s terrible just to think somebody could lose their life because someone is not paying attention. It is devastating,” whistleblower Joe Lepore said on Monday.

Lepore is the New York City bike tour guide who went public with pictures he took of a security guard snoozing Monday inside his guard post on the bridge, and another taking a nap earlier in August. Both guards, employees of a private security firm hired by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, were immediately fired.


Lepore said he’s seen guards sleeping many times.

“One time I can almost understand, although it’s no excuse, but to see it happen a second time and third time, a fourth time, a fifth time, I thought something has to be done. Someone has to be aware that there’s people sleeping on the job when we need to be protected,” Lepore said.

The Port Authority tried to down play guards’ job, calling them “agents” whose primary task is to check the security clearance of bridge workers. But Port Authority police sources said they are also tasked with alerting them to suspicious activity on the bridge.

“Clearly if a security officer is sleeping then there’s a higher expectation that something would go unobserved,” Elite Investigations security expert Gary Weksler told CBS 2 HD.

Experts said bike and foot patrols on the bridge by police officers would improve safety.

“Maybe you just nod off at that one moment when somebody decides to sneak by some liquid nitrogen or some explosives and start to do damage,” Lepore told CBS 2 HD’s Hazel Sanchez. “And I explained it to one of the guards on the other side. I said look if this bridge blows up, we’re all going, including you.

“I feel bad for them and it’s nothing personal,” Lepore added. “I didn’t do this with a vendetta or any personal issue with anybody. It’s safety for all of us.”

Local residents said the workers deserved much more than a slap on the wrist.

“It serves them right. I mean they shouldn’t be working. They’re not working really. They’re sleeping on the job. It’s a crime what they were doing,” said Arnie Bauer of Fort Lee, N.J.

“That’s very scary, especially in the time that we’re living right now,” added Holly Herrera of Fort Lee.

Lepore said he couldn’t sit back and watch thousands of people’s lives be put at risk after he lost two friends and a cousin in the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

The Port Authority said it has spent more than $4 billion on security since 9/11.

The Port Authority Police Benevolent Association said it believes additional police patrols are needed to properly secure the George Washington Bridge.

Lepore said he doubts more police would make a difference.

“It can’t be easy sitting in a little square box like that so I can understand. It’s early in the morning, you nod off. I can see that. It’s not an excuse for it,” Lepore said.

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Read Comments (8)  —  Post Yours »


 Sep 01, 2009 at 08:07 PM concerned Says:

They're human beings after all, however all it takes is one little absence for something big to happen. But we know hinei lo yonim velo yishon shomer yisroel Hashem is the guard of all guards and He should continue to protect us.


 Sep 01, 2009 at 08:38 PM Anonymous Says:

If Gus Danese, the head of the Port Authority PBA, is so concerned about bridge security, maybe he'd be willing to let all those officers he's got on full time release, that is, paid their full PAPD salary, doing NOTHING, get back to work.


 Sep 02, 2009 at 01:57 AM Anonymous Says:

"And if someone sneaks liquid nitrigen on the bridge..." yeah and exactly what are you worried about? he'll freeze the roadway? There are a lot of things more dangerous and a lot more common than liquid nitrogen.


 Sep 02, 2009 at 12:32 AM maamin Says:

So let's get it clear. When the gaurd is not sleeping on the upper level, chemicals can't be sneaked in on the lower level. Clear?


 Sep 01, 2009 at 11:54 PM Rochel Says:

the guy wanted to die anyway, can we blame the guards for his suicidal action ?
there is no relation between the two facts : the guards shouldn't sleep that's not part of their job (otherwise i'd like this job), they must be there and make sure of the safety of people but... they can't be responsible for the action of this man.
If the guard saw him and try to rescue him, it wouldn't have changed that the guy would commit suicide in another place.


 Sep 02, 2009 at 08:32 AM Anonymous Says:

"It's terrible to think that someone could lose their life, because someone was not paying attention." Escuse me, he lost his life because he chose to jump off a bridge. Perhaps the police should risk their lives to try and stop him?


 Sep 02, 2009 at 04:30 PM Anonymous Says:

Let's look at this from a different objective. These guys may not do much, but, wouldn't you get fired if you were sleeping on the job? I know I would. And I'm pretty sure the kids flipping burgers at your local fast food franchise, as lowly and unappreciated as they may be, would be fired, too.


 Sep 11, 2009 at 03:21 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #7  
Anonymous Says:

Let's look at this from a different objective. These guys may not do much, but, wouldn't you get fired if you were sleeping on the job? I know I would. And I'm pretty sure the kids flipping burgers at your local fast food franchise, as lowly and unappreciated as they may be, would be fired, too.

I bet you in the official job requirements documenation no where does it mention sleeping on the job. But also I bet it does not prohibit sleeping on the job either. Meaning these agents/guards needs proper training and eduction BEFORE they start to work. Blame the guys on the top, not the bottom. On the top they spent $4 billion. Stop blaming the guys on the bottom.


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