Source: Speziale Putting out Feelers on a Return to the Sheriff’s Saddle

Jerry Speziale, the Paterson Public Safety Director, is eyeballing his old job – the sheriff of Passaic County – a source told InsiderNJ.

The county will conduct an election this year in the aftermath of the untimely death of Sheriff Richard Berdnik.

Mr. Berdnik replaced Speziale as the sheriff’s candidate beck in 2010 after Speziale took a job at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.

The Passaic County Democratic Organization and Chairman John Currie wasn’t thrilled with the way Speziale left, irritated by the newfound influence of the GOP under the auspices of then-Governor Chris Christie.

Mr. Berdnik gave the party a significant boost of credibility after Speziale’s departure.

Subsequent Speziale wilderness years propelled him into a police gig in Alabama, before he came back to claim the Paterson police gig and reassert his home-turf footprint.

Now, he’s taking a hard look at the sheriff’s office, and a possible return, which, given his shaky history with the party, might be off the line.

The source said Anthony DeNova is another name floating around out there as a successor to Mr. Berdnik, or to Chairman Currie.

Anthony DeNova, hired as county administrator in April 2003, stepped down from that post at the end of December, 2022.

Speziale started his career as an undercover DEA agent who helped take down a powerful Colombian drug cartel in the 1990s. He rode that reputation into the Sheriff’s job in 2001 and was re-elected twice before resigning in 2010 to take the Port Authority job instead of running for reelection. Democrats cried foul and “accused him of making a secret deal with Christie to help Passaic Republicans win control of county government, an accusation that still rankles him today,” according to the source close to Speziale.

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4 responses to “Source: Speziale Putting out Feelers on a Return to the Sheriff’s Saddle”

  1. I’m a Republican and liked Democrat Jerry Speziale a lot as Passaic County Sheriff. I grew up in Wayne. Speziale grew up in Wayne. Speziale was never ethically or professionally challenged. I, and my organization met with him over certain arrest procedures in civil matters (you cannot arrest people in civil matters (even for civil contempt) when there is NO 4TH AMENDMENT PROBABLE CAUSE that a CRIME was committed, and he listened intently, made suggestions and looked into it. He followed up on it, and the problem stopped.

    He had his finger on the pulse of law enforcement in Passaic County, and it was heartbreaking to watch him leave the Sheriff’s post when his beautiful wife died. Speziale is the consummate LEO professional and should be put back in as Sheriff to clean up the mess there and get the office running in the RIGHT direction!

  2. As Someone who has known Jerry Speziale for long time and Returning Resident of Passiac County I’m Proud to support him and Do whatever I can to help him Win

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