New York Mayor Bill de Blasio travelled to a family vacation aboard a spy plane designed to detect radioactive material used in “dirty bombs” with the backing of the city’s police department.
Police Commissioner James O’Neill told reporters on Tuesday that the NYPD’s intelligence bureau cleared De Blasio to go back and forth from his holiday in Quebec, Canada, using the $3 million Cessna 208 Caravan. He had taken time out from his week-long break to attend a memorial for a slain police detective.
“Bottom line, the mayor came back to go to a street-renaming for a detective that was brutally murdered a year ago,” O’Neill said, according to the New York Post.
The city’s top cop shrugged off suggestions that the plane may have been put to better use doing what it was purchased to do – patrolling shipping lanes in search of radioactive material that could potentially be used in a devastating nuclear explosion. “There are other uses we can use it for,” O’Neill said of the plane.
O’Neill said he didn’t anticipate protests from the Department of Homeland Security, the body that secured the funding for the plane.
“As far as using the plane, we did not see any obstacles. I don’t think there’s going to be pushback from Washington,” O’Neill said. “We didn’t ask for clearance, and I haven’t heard from them.”
It is unclear how much the round-trip cost the city’s taxpayers. A commercial plane ticket from Quebec to New York costs around $300 return.
De Blasio has come under fire in recent times amid rising tensions surrounding the servicing of New York’s subway system. He has also been accused of underestimating the amount of toxic lead paint present in public housing. An initial estimate of 50,000 apartments rose to 130,000 on July 9, according the Post.