Speziale Moving on from Port Authority

By Cowen, Richard | The Record (Bergen County, NJ), October 4, 2013 | Go to article overview

Speziale Moving on from Port Authority


Cowen, Richard, The Record (Bergen County, NJ)


Former Passaic County Sheriff Jerry Speziale is about to leave his high-paying job at the Port Authority Police Department to become the top cop in the small, bankrupt Alabama city of Prichard.

Speziale, the charismatic cop, author and occasional movie actor who abruptly resigned as sheriff in 2010 to become the No. 2 man at the Port Authority police, is walking away from his $198,510 salary to become chief in Prichard, a depressed, crime-ridden city north of Mobile that twice has filed for bankruptcy since 1999. Prichard plans to pay Speziale about $65,000 a year, according to published reports.

Prichard's mayor, Troy Ethram, introduced Speziale to the local media on Wednesday. Last night, the Prichard City Council voted 4-1 to officially name Speziale as their new police chief.

Prichard Councilman Lorenzo A. Martin said Speziale was hired because of his "background and his history. We are in dire need of that kind of knowledge."

Prichard, with a population of 22,000, is a far cry from the New York metropolitan area, with its 12 million people and labyrinth of bridges, tunnels, highways and waterways. But Speziale will be familiar with the high crime and depressed economy that plague Prichard, given his experience in downtrodden urban areas like Paterson, Passaic, Jersey City and New York.

Speziale did not return phone calls seeking comment on Thursday.

He told the local media on Wednesday that he was willing to take a pay cut, telling them that he'd "been blessed" with other high- paying jobs, plus royalties from his book, consulting fees and movie appearances, according to online news accounts published by al.com. As for opposition from some Prichard residents, Speziale was confident he could win them over with his performance.

"I need to establish myself and prove to everyone what I'm saying is real," he told al.com.

This is not the first time that Speziale has tried to leave the Port Authority. Since arriving in late 2010, he's applied for chief's jobs in Port St. Lucie, Fla., Miami, and Cincinnati.

Raised in Wayne, Speziale began his law-enforcement career with the New York Police Department. His sidekick at the NYPD was Bernard Kerik, a Paterson native who later became police commissioner under Mayor Rudy Giuliani. Kerik, once tapped by President Bush to head the Department of Homeland Security, later was sentenced for four years in prison for corruption. …

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