The suspicious package reported on Monday morning under a bridge close to the Paterson Train Station turned out to be a suitcase filled with clothing, said police director Jerry Speziale.
“The package was cleared at 10:45 this morning and rendered safe. It appeared to be a suitcase filled with clothing,” said Speziale. He said the suspicious package was called in at about 9 a.m. on 16th Avenue and Market Street.
Bill Maer, spokesman for the Passaic County Sheriff’s Office, said the sheriff’s office used a robot to determine the package was filled with clothes. ”We did not need to detonate the package,” he said.
Speziale said the Passaic County Sheriff’s Office was immediately alerted. He said bomb squad units from both Passaic and Bergen Counties responded to the scene.
The New Jersey Transit Police, New Jersey Office of Homeland Security, FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), Passaic County Prosecutor’s Office, and the Paterson Public Schools security converged on the scene.
Speziale said the city’s unified command was activated as law enforcement agencies worked on the situation. He said this allowed various agencies to communicate in a separate channel without impacting regular police and fire operations.
The city’s Panther Academy and Alexander Hamilton Academy are close to the area where the package was found. Students were not evacuated. The school security moved children to an area further away on the other side of the building, said the director.
Train traffic was halted, said the director. He said buses and car traffic were also diverted from the area. He said both train and vehicular traffic resumed in the area before 11 a.m.