Paterson public safety director derides layoff of sheriff officers, closure of Passaic County Jail

Public Safety Director Jerry Speziale says he disagrees with the decision to demolish the property.

Chris Keating

May 7, 2024, 9:23 PM

Updated 19 days ago

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Planned layoffs of Passaic County sheriff officers will go into effect this July.
Officials say that as of now, 19 officers will be relieved of their duties. That number is down from the original 29.
The layoffs are being made because the Passaic County Jail is no longer being used and is set to be demolished. The closure is expected to save the county $1.5 million. Prisoners are being relocated to Bergen or Essex county jails.
This has put a strain on Paterson police officers, according to Public Safety Director Jerry Speziale, whose officers are forced to drive those prisoners. He’s been pushing back on the jail closure.
“My officers are drained because of transportation. I have to take cars off the road, I have to take services from the community to worry about handling the lockup,” Speziale says.
The public safety director says he disagrees with the decision to demolish the property for a social services building. He says he would like to see a central booking system in place.
“We should take over all of the lockups. Make a central booking system similar to the NYPD where I come from…So that all police departments can go to that one facility,” Speziale says. “We really can’t do this in a vacuum this has got to be done. Everybody involved and sitting at the table that plays a role.”
The Passaic County commissioners have been trying to help those targeted officers find other jobs.
That’s something former Sheriff Richard Berdnik was said to have been doing before he took his own life in January.
There will be a special election held in November for the last year of Berdnick’s term.
Speziale is running for that seat against Tom Adamo who is a chief within the Sheriff’s Department.


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