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Northern Valley Daily Voice serves Harrington Park, Haworth, Northvale, Norwood, Old Tappan & Rockleigh

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Former Park Ridge reserve police officer charged with eluding police, DWI, among other counts

ONLY ON CLIFFVIEW PILOT: A former Park Ridge reserve police officer was being held on $50,000 bail in the Bergen County Jail on a host of offenses, including attempting to elude police.

Old Tappan police began the pursuit early Saturday and subsequently called it off because of the speed and risk to others.

Hillsdale police, hearing the broadcast of the license plate number, recognized the driver, 38-year-old Eric Bongard.

They passed by his house and caught him pulling into his driveway around 3 a.m.

After field-testing him, the Hillsdale officers took Bongard to headquarters, where they said a breath test determined that his blood-alcohol level exceeded the limit for driving.

In addition to DWI, Bongard was charged with driving while on the suspended list, failing to notify motor vehicle officials of an address change and having an obstructed license plate.

He was then turned him over to Old Tappan police.

Bongard has been an armed security officer with Fedelis Security Services in Newark the past two years. Before that he worked more than two years for a private security company at the Picatinny Arsenal. He also worked for Pinkerton Government Services and as a security guard at the New Jersey Institute of Technology in Newark.

Members of the Park Ridge Police Department reserves said Bongard, who joined in 1999, left the squad three years ago.

Reserve officers respond when natural disasters or major events requiring a large police presence, such as acts of terrorism, occur. They also help local police with minor traffic duties, crowd control and medical aid.

Reserves are vested with full rights of regular police officers, provided they fulfill the necessary training. However, each town determines which of those powers they can use.

Bergen County has reserves in 24 of its 70 municipalities. The units operate under the state Office of Emergency Management and can be deployed wherever needed by local, state or federal agencies.

They train at the Bergen County Police and Fire Academy in Mahwah and required to maintain a minimum of 96 training hours each year.

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