Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Port Authority Officer Recalls Tragic Scene

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Port Authority Officer Recalls Tragic Scene

Article excerpt

New Jersey's Doug Jennings says about 10 percent of the job as a police officer is chaos. The rest of the time involves being prepared for those moments.

No amount of preparation, though, could have left Jennings fully ready for the scene he encountered in New York City on Tuesday in wake of the terror attack that left eight people dead when a Home Depot truck ran down people on a bike path.

Jennings, a Port Authority police officer and Pequannock native, was among the officers to first arrive at the scene in lower Manhattan.

"You definitely think about it," Jennings said on Friday, days after the incident. "You see the images in your head. I expect it to be somewhere in my head the rest of my life."

A Paterson man allegedly killed eight people and injured 12 others Tuesday when he drove a pickup truck that he rented at a Home Depot in Passaic down a bike lane near the Hudson River.

Jennings, 30, helped treat the injured in the wake of the devastation. He recalled bringing a stretcher around to people, carrying oxygen tanks and seeking bandages while he found himself surrounded by the victims. "Some of the people you could tell we probably weren't going to be able to help much unfortunately," he said, "and as tough a decision as it is to move on from one person to the next, you have to go with someone who might have a chance."

In his career Jennings said he's witnessed some severe car accidents, but nothing quite like Tuesday's attack. Jennings joined the Port Authority force nearly four years ago after graduating from the department's police academy. Prior to that he studied sociology at the University of Connecticut after graduating from Pequannock High School, where he played for the football, baseball and basketball teams.

Jennings was a college teammate in 2009 of Houston Astros outfielder and World Series MVP George Springer. …

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