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Corrections Responds to 9/11

NCJ Number
Corrections Today Volume: 64 Issue: 1 Dated: February 2002 Pages: 73-77
Michele D. Buisch
Date Published
5 pages
This article reviews the actions of corrections officers in New York, New Jersey, and Washington, D.C. on September 11, 2001, and the days after the attack
In New York City, William Fraser, commissioner of the New York City Department of Corrections (DOC), was preparing to meet the deputy mayor at 9 a.m., when he saw the first airplane hit one of the Twin Towers at 8:45 a.m. In Cooperstown, New York, Glenn Goord, commissioner of the New York State Department of Correctional Services (DOCS) was giving a speech when he was handed a note informing him of the terrorist attack. As Americans were wondering what would happen next, Goord was back in Albany mobilizing his executive staff and Fraser immediately placed his jails on lock-down and put out calls to the Emergency Services Unit. Security was tightened at correctional facilities around the State and staff relayed the information they received to inmates. In New Jersey, Susan Maurer, acting commissioner of the New Jersey DOC, was holding staff briefings every 2 hours after her apartment was linked to State police to assist in the emergency effort. In Washington, D.C. the call went out over the radio that the Pentagon had been hit. Arlington County, Virginia Sheriff Beth Arthur looked out her office window. Although she could not see the Pentagon from where she sat, Arthur saw a mushroom-shaped cloud of smoke rising slowly into the air. She then directed her available staff to respond to the scene, where they helped remove people from burning parts of the building, evacuate the other sections of the building, and direct traffic. In the days after, the Office of Emergency Management in New York City established a morgue, helped with ceremonies, and established telecommunications systems. In New Jersey, the DOC’s special operations staff responded to bomb threats. In Arlington, Virginia the Sheriff’s office provided security to the county government buildings and the judicial center and assisted the county police department. Ongoing efforts include special operations teams in New Jersey that provide security to Newark Airport and State reservoirs; and in New York City great progress has been made in cleanup efforts.