EXCLUSIVE REPORT: Bergen County Prosecutor John L. Molinelli and his staff have saved county taxpayers $19.4 million in the decade that Molinelli has held the job, thanks to the use of criminal forfeiture funds, records show.
That includes $1.4 million for the installation of cameras in municipal police vehicles, $900,000 toward studying municipal consolidations of police departments and other agencies and $7 million toward the new county agency building.
Also included is $250,00 for municipal DWI checkpoints.
The prosecutor’s office helped defray the cost of some special items — among them, $50,000 toward the construction of a memorial to Officer Maryann Collura at the Fair Lawn Municipal Building and $140,000 toward the renovation of the Hall of Heroes and the Installation of the 911 memorial at the Bergen County Police and Fire Academy in Mahwah, in conjunction with the 200 Club).
The total reflects items bought by Molinelli’s office from 2002 through 2012 for itself, for the county police department, sheriff’s office and Office of Emergency Management, and for municipal agencies.
Since becoming prosecutor, Molinelli ( at podium ABOVE ) has sought varied and innovative ways of using assets seized from criminals.
The $19,402,273 collected by his office and distributed throughout the county also includes:
- $1.4 million toward the renovation and expansion project of the Bergen County Justice Complex in Hackensack;
- $1.1 million toward the renovation of the county-owned Hackensack warehouse;
- $1 million for the purchase of its own vehicles (the county doesn’t purchase them);
- $1 million to cover its own overtime, rather than have the county pay it;
- $140,000 toward overtime expenses for the Bergen County Police Department during various investigations and the 10-year commemoration of 911.
- $600,000 for general training expenses;
- $110,000 for the BCPD and OEM Emergency Notification [Swiftreach] system;
- $108,000 for the purchase of eight Harley Davidson motorcycles and $42,000 for the purchase of two police cruisers for training at the academy;
- $100,00 for the purchase of a police vehicle simulator (matched by local municipalities);
- $100,000 for X-ray equipment at One Bergen Plaza and the Courthouse;
- $77,000 for the purchase of the evidence-collection system known as BEAST;
- $50,000 toward equipment for the county Rapid Deployment Force;
Last night, the Bergen County Board of Chosen Freeholders presented the “Taxpayer Advocate” award to Molinelli’s office for saving the money “with your leadership, hard work and dedication on behalf of the taxpayers of Bergen County.”
Office Manager Lori Biroc, Executive Assistant Prosecutor Frank Puccio and Chief Information Officer Ken Ardizzone received the award on behalf of the BCPO.
PHOTO: Mary K. Miraglia, CLIFFVIEW PILOT Courthouse Reporter