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Saddle Brook-Elmwood Park Daily Voice serves Elmwood Park & Saddle Brook

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DV Pilot police & fire

Homeland Security plane lands on Route 80

Photo Credit: by NICHOLAS SEARLES (No re-use without permission

If it isn’t some guy riding his brake or drifting across lanes, it’s a small plane tying up Route 80’s express lanes. A media report from a local newspaper incorrectly cited a “crash landing.” However, no one was hurt after a surveillance plane operated by a pilot working with the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office touched down on the eastbound interstate, unable to make it to Teterboro.

PHOTO by NICHOLAS SEARLES (No re-use without permission)

The small, single-engine craft was “operated by a certified flight instructor and flight safety officer who is a retired  commercial airline pilot and currently assists the BCPO in its homeland security and safety efforts in conjunction with the US Department of Justice, which owns the plane,” Bergen County Prosecutor John L. Molinelli said. “The DOJ program with the BCPO has been operating successfully for two years.”

Molinelli wouldn’t say what Homeland Security agents have been looking at in Bergen County.

However, law enforcement officials told CLIFFVIEW PILOT it’s been mostly an aid in trailing carjackers and violent criminals out of Newark.

Molinelli, the prosecutor, said a problem with the fuel line kept the pilot from making it to Teterboro Airport, a short distance away.

He also told CLIFFVIEW PILOT that the plane costs $50 an hour to operate, and is paid for by his office’s collection of assets seized from criminal defendants, among others.

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