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Police & Fire

On the Front Lines Versus Terror: Asleep At The Bridge

Photo Credit: and text in this story are the property of CLIFFVIEWPILOT LLC. NO USE WITHOUT PERMISSION.]

The Port Authority says it fired two George Washington Bridge guards that CLIFFVIEW PILOT caught napping on the job.

One of the workers was caught dozing twice Monday — the first time during rush hour and the second around 10:15 a.m., when our Joey Lepore photographed him. “I didn’t even zoom in,” Lepore said. “I walked right up to the window.”

It wasn’t the first time: At the height of the Aug. 5 morning rush, another guard was photographed nodded out in the west guard booth on the New Jersey side. “And that was the THIRD time I’d seen him sleeping,” Lepore said.

Lepore, who is also a part-time magician, is about to publish a book on bicycle commuter safety. But he had safety of a different kind in mind when he came upon the “breaking snooze” story during his daily ride to Central Park before work this morning.

“I saw him nodded out on my way over to the city and then again on my way back,” Lepore said. “Enough is enough!”

“I really hate doing this,” he said. “But this isn’t right.”

The early photos were taken after Lepore said he spoke to one of the guards. “I said to him, ‘Please just stay awake. I’m not asking too much.”

“I saw him sleeping again about two weeks later (Aug. 5),” he said. “And that was the THIRD time I’d seen him. So I took the pictures.

“It just got to me today.”

Bridges and tunnels remain a prime target for terrorists in the aftermath of 9/11, authorities have said.

At one point, the Port Authority — which operates the bridge — had even restricted photography there. Those rules have since been relaxed. In 2005 and 2006, the agency installed cylindrical bomb shields the section of the bridge’s suspension cables closest to the deck.

More than 105 million vehicles crossed the George Washington Bridge in 2008, according to the agency, making it one of the busiest spans in the world.

“The two guards have been fired by the security contractor, FJC Security,” the agency said in a statement released at 5:15 p.m.

“The Port Authority takes the safety of its passengers and facilities very serious and has spent more than $4 billion dollars on security since 9/11,” the agency said in its response to CLIFFVIEW PILOT‘s findings. “The Port Authority welcomes the public’s vigilance on matters of safety and security and we encourage our customers to contact us if they encounter anything out of the ordinary.

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