Port Authority officer becomes only woman on emergency services team

Posted: Updated:
JERSEY CITY -

Port Authority Police Officer Victoria Berardi has been promoted to the department’s emergency services unit.

Berardi had been with the department for 10 years and is now the only woman on the ESU squad, and the second woman to ever make the rank.

“Being a police officer is something that I’ve always dreamt of,” she says.

The specialized unit is part-SWAT team, part-EMS unit and part-hazmat squad.

"We're trained to respond in situations that patrol units aren't able to push any further with, so whether it is an active shooter, whether it is a really bad car accident,” she says.

Berardi says that the training to get on the unit is rigorous.

“When they say it’s only meant for certain people, it’s 100 percent true,” she says. “The instructors push you to the point when you really don't think you have anything left in you.”

“There's 45 minutes until you're leaving and guess what? You have another scenario and you're tired, you're thirsty, you’re hungry and you don't think you can go any further - the training shows you that you do have more in the tank,” she says.

Berardi will start her assignment at LaGuardia Airport on Monday. And her message to young girls?

"If you have a dream, there's no one there that can stop you. Just keep pushing forward, one foot in front of the other. It's not about where it ends, it's about the journey,” she says.

Berardi says that not only is her brother also a police officer, but so is her wife. She says that she is grateful to always have someone to talk to who knows what she is going through.

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