Regulations

Homeland Security Officials Enlist LANJ Members To Deter Terrorism

Posted on September 18, 2012
Featured at the Sept. 12 LANJ luncheon meeting in Princeton, N.J. were (L to R): LANJ President Tim Rose, Rosemary Martorana, intelligence analyst for the New Jersey Office of Homeland Security & Preparedness (OHSP), Ray Bush of Cadillac Professional Vehicles, LANJ executive director Barry Lefkowitz, David Leonardis, confidential assistant to (OHSP) deputy director of operations, and Joseph Conrey, branch chief for the OHSP's Critical Infrastructure Protection Bureau.

Featured at the Sept. 12 LANJ luncheon meeting in Princeton, N.J. were (L to R): LANJ President Tim Rose, Rosemary Martorana, intelligence analyst for the New Jersey Office of Homeland Security & Preparedness (OHSP), Ray Bush of Cadillac Professional Vehicles, LANJ executive director Barry Lefkowitz, David Leonardis, confidential assistant to (OHSP) deputy director of operations, and Joseph Conrey, branch chief for the OHSP's Critical Infrastructure Protection Bureau.

Featured at the Sept. 12 LANJ luncheon meeting in Princeton, N.J. were (L to R): LANJ President Tim Rose, Rosemary Martorana, intelligence analyst for the New Jersey Office of Homeland Security & Preparedness (OHSP), Ray Bush of Cadillac Professional Vehicles, LANJ executive director Barry Lefkowitz, David Leonardis, confidential assistant to (OHSP) deputy director of operations, and Joseph Conrey, branch chief for the OHSP's Critical Infrastructure Protection Bureau.
Featured at the Sept. 12 LANJ luncheon meeting in Princeton, N.J. were (L to R): LANJ President Tim Rose, Rosemary Martorana, intelligence analyst for the New Jersey Office of Homeland Security & Preparedness (OHSP), Ray Bush of Cadillac Professional Vehicles, LANJ executive director Barry Lefkowitz, David Leonardis, confidential assistant to (OHSP) deputy director of operations, and Joseph Conrey, branch chief for the OHSP's Critical Infrastructure Protection Bureau.

PRINCETON, N.J. — New Jersey state Homeland Security authorities would like to work more closely with limousine operators in identifying and preventing potential terrorist activities, member of the Limousine Associations of New Jersey (LANJ) were told Sept. 12.

The presentation from the New Jersey Office of Homeland Security & Preparedness was the keynote of the membership luncheon meeting held at the Clarion Hotel Palmer Inn in Princeton. More than 100 operators, vendors and industry associates attended.

How operators can help
The presentation focused on two main points: 1) Explaining how to identify potential terrorist activity, 2) but also how to identify customers who could be involved in this type of activity.

David Leonardis, assistant deputy director of operations in the Office, told the LANJ membership that terrorists are more likely to aim for soft targets that limousine companies also serve regularly, such as malls, casinos, arenas, rail, trains, buses and faith-based operations.

Since black vehicles blend in well at such places, they also have the potential to be used to perform terrorist activities, Leonardis said. He encouraged operators to train their chauffeurs, who are often very observant, to be a helpful set of eyes on the street. Leonardis explained that tips have led to thwarting terrorist attacks, such as a previous attempt at the Ft. Dix U.S. Army base that was blocked thanks to a tip.  

Juan Colon of the New Jersey State Police’s outreach for regional intelligence explained that New Jersey is in an ideal location for terrorist activity because of its proximity between Washington D.C. and New York City. He said there have been 55 arrests in the past three years.  

The motto for the presentation was: “If you see something, say something.” LANJ is working with Homeland Security officials to set up training sessions for operators to help identify suspicious activities. In turn, the agency will give the association access to information about terrorist activities in the state.

Cadillac XTS impresses
The LANJ meeting was hosted by A1 Limousine of Princeton, N.J., and co-sponsored by Cadillac, Don Brown Bus Sales and Extensis, a payroll employee benefits company.

Cadillac displayed the new 2013 XTS livery sedans on location for ride and test drives. Cadillac Professional Vehicles Program Manager Ray Bush said that the new cars were being well received by operators and their clients.

New Jersey operator Jeff Shanker of A-1 Limousine said his company has deployed several of the XTS sedans for fleet service. A-1 also has an additional 24 XTS sedans on order from Cadillac Professional Vehicles.

Leaders confront issues
LANJ leaders updated members on a number of issues they are working on:

  • Window tinting: Tickets for window tinting violations in New York City continue to plague New Jersey operators. The association has paid its counsel, Matt Daus, a former New York City Taxi and Limousine Commissioner, to create a position paper that operators can use to fight window tinting tickets. Additionally, meetings have been arranged between the association and the New York City Police Chief to stop the illegal summons from being issued to members.  
  • Inspections: The NYTLC requires that all vehicles, including new ones, be inspected at its location. One operator explained that he brought four brand new R Class Mercedes-Benz vehicles to be inspected and had three allegedly fail the stop test. LANJ is working through attorney Daus to have this requirement eliminated.
  • Coalition: LANJ is looking forward to pooling resources and knowledge with other area industry associations through the newly formed Coalition of Transportation Associations (COTA). The combined efforts of the organizations can be used to improve strategies in confronting common legislative and regulatory issues. COTA holds its inaugural summit and conference Friday, Sept.21 at the Four Points Sheraton in Long Island City, N.Y. NYLTC Commissioner David Yassky is one of the keynote speakers.  
  • Jitney services: Jitney shuttles and minibuses continue to be a thorn in the side of LANJ. Jitneys operate as a result of a regulatory loophole and are performing the same service as limousines but do not have the same insurance requirements or regulations such as seat belts and CDLs for chauffeurs. LANJ is working with the New Jersey state legislature to get the loophole closed.  
  • Uber: Smartphone applications such as the popular Uber app have been a big topic among members of the LANJ board. LANJ president Tim Rose said he believes Uber is a bigger threat to the industry’s business model than Avis WeDriveU. LANJ plans to address Uber at the COTA Summit.

Remembering Tom Mazza
The LANJ luncheon started on a somber note with a reverential moment of silence to remember industry consultant and educator Tom Mazza, who died Aug. 11 after a long battle with Lou Gehrig’s disease. A tribute to Mazza is being published in the October issue of LCT Magazine.

— Reported by Linda Jagiela, LCT contributing writer

Related Topics: Cadillac, Cadillac Professional Vehicles, LANJ, New Jersey operators, safety education, security, state regulations, Uber, window tint

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