JERSEY CITY - A Homeland Security field hearing took place Tuesday morning at New Jersey City University so officials could discuss the best ways to keep residents safe when traveling to and from New York City.

Hosted by Rep. Donald Payne, Jr., a ranking Member on the Homeland Security Subcommittee on Emergency Preparedness, Response, and Communications, the hearing explored efforts to secure surface transportation in New Jersey and New York.

Among the panelists were the chief of police at New Jersey Transit who says most NJ Transit employee's assist in security efforts.

"Almost all of our 11,000 employees have received security awareness training. From conductors to bus operators to office staff, our employees are force multipliers. Extra eyes and ears for our police department," said Christopher Trucillo.

Most of the panel members expressed their desire to see increased federal investment in the Homeland Security Grant and Transit Security Grant programs, calling it critical to expanding security.

Those programs already provide for improved planning and coordination among transit operators and emergency responders.