Paterson mayor: Police director should not be holding a 2nd job

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PATERSON -

The mayor of Paterson is criticizing the city’s police director for holding a second job in addition to his duties to the Paterson Police Department.

Mayor Andre Sayegh told The Record that he wants Police Director Jerry Speziale to quit his other job as the chief of police of the Hazelton, Pennsylvania police department.

Hazelton is more than 100 miles away from Paterson – about a 2.5-hour drive away. Speziale has served as the police chief for three years.

Paterson City Council President Maritza Davila says that she has known Speziale for 20 years. She says that the mayor’s comments were out of bounds.

“The mayor put it out there. This is nothing new. This is what bothers me about this,” she says.

Davila says that it shouldn’t matter if Speziale has two jobs. She says that crime in Paterson is down. Statistics show that there were 12 murders in the city in 2018, down from 24 murders in 2017.

“I see a man, Jerry Speziale, as someone that is here on a day-in and day-out basis. There’s not a moment where you call him and he does not pick up,” Davila says.

But while crime may be down – the police department itself is under increased scrutiny.

Federal authorities have accused four Paterson police officers of stealing drugs and money from drivers during traffic stops. Two other officers were just sentenced for their role in the brutal beating of a suicidal hospital patient. And the city was rocked by protests in January after the still-unclear death of Jameek Lowery, who was last seen alive at the Paterson Police Station.

Sayegh declined to speak to News 12 New Jersey about this issue. But he told The Record that he expects the police director to quit his Pennsylvania job in the upcoming months.

Speziale tells News 12 that he works hard for the city. He says he is dedicated to Paterson and not interested in fighting about it.

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