The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey has announced the additions of law enforcement veterans Danielle Outlaw and Michael Harpster to the agency’s office of the chief security (OCSO). It also announced the creation of a new security technology and programs department, to be led by an agency veteran of security technology, as it looks to enhance safety and security initiatives across the agency’s broad range of facilities.
Outlaw joins the OCSO in the position of deputy chief security officer after two decades of service with the police department in Oakland, Calif., two years of service with the police department in Portland, Ore., and, most recently, after three and a half years as police commissioner of the Philadelphia Police Department. Within the OCSO, Outlaw will provide central oversight of major security functions, including emergency management, cybersecurity and public safety, alongside Port Authority Chief Security Officer Greg Ehrie.
As police commissioner of the country’s fourth-largest police force, Outlaw boosted the department’s performance in three key areas: organizational excellence, crime prevention and reduction and community engagement and inclusion; all while utilizing data- and technologically driven strategies to ensure optimal public safety for all those who lived, worked and played in the city of Philadelphia. Prior to her service in Philadelphia, Outlaw was police chief of the Portland, Ore., police department. She began her law enforcement career in 1997 as a police cadet and, after deciding to become a police officer, rose through the ranks to deputy chief of police in the Oakland, Calif., police department.
Harpster joins the OCSO as director of the security operations department following two decades in the FBI and, most recently, three years as head of global security and fraud operations for the Vanguard Financial Group. Harpster will be responsible for overseeing security operations at all Port Authority facilities, implementing plans to ensure the region’s vital transportation hubs remain safe and secure.
After beginning his law enforcement career in 1989 as a police officer in the Boston area, Harpster joined the FBI in 1997, leading several high-profile assignments and large-scale investigations. He served as Special Agent in Charge of the criminal division at the FBI’s New York office, and Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Philadelphia field office.
The agency’s new security technology and programs department within the OCSO will be led by Jack Niedermeyer, currently the OCSO’s director of security operations. This new department will focus on enhancing security-related technological capabilities, along with overseeing capital security projects and developing an agency-wide insider risk program.
“It is a privilege for us to welcome law enforcement and security professionals of this caliber to strengthen our robust security team,” said Port Authority Chairman Kevin O’Toole. “These accomplished additions underscore how seriously we take our commitment to keeping the region’s major transportation assets safe and secure.”
“Public safety remains our highest priority, and nothing illustrates that better than bringing on a combined half-century of experience to our security office,” said Port Authority Executive Director Rick Cotton. “With their vast expertise and dynamic skill sets, these leaders will stay ahead of the region’s ever-evolving threat landscape and help guide a security team that continues to be among the nation’s best.”
“These exceptional talents have their finger on the pulse of a high-stakes, constantly shifting security universe,” said Port Authority Chief Security Officer Greg Ehrie. “We are honored to be able to fortify our team with professionals from law enforcement’s top levels, who understand the unyielding importance of keeping our region safe.”
The additions come as the Port Authority devotes nearly $1 billion – its largest ever security budget – in its 2023 budget to enhancing safety efforts at the agency’s transportation facilities and strengthening the agency’s positions around cybersecurity.
They join a team led by Ehrie, who was appointed in December 2022 as the Port Authority’s chief security officer. Ehrie joined the agency after a 22-year tenure in the FBI, spanning several roles focused on intelligence operations and terrorism investigations. He supervised operations of the bureau’s National Joint Terrorism Task Force and its Countering Violent Extremism Office. During his career in the FBI, Ehrie also served as Special Agent in Charge of Intelligence at the New York office, and later Special Agent in Charge of the Newark field office. Prior to joining the Port Authority, Ehrie was the chief security officer at the Anti-Defamation League.