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Local 15 Talks to Prichard's New Police Chief
PRICHARD, Ala. (WPMI) Prichard named a new police chief this week, and we're looking into questions about his past.
Thursday night, Mayor Troy Ephriam announced Jerry Speziale will take the position. He's the current Deputy Superintendent of Police and Deputy Director of Public Safety at the New York, New Jersey Port Authority Police Department. He's also worked with the FBI, the DEA and the NYPD.
Local 15's Darwin Singleton talked with Speziale Friday.
"This is a passion. This is what drives me," Speziale said.
It is a passion that led Speziale to join the NYPD at a time when New York City was not the best environment to be a cop.
"I started in the South Bronx, when the South Bronx was burning down... Poverty and crime beyond belief. I was a young police officer, and that's where I patrolled. I always patrolled in that type of neighborhood throughout my entire career," he added.
Over the decades, New York City changed and so did Speziale's career.
"I retired from the NYPD because I was shot, I had surgery on my achilles tendon and then I recovered from that. The NYPD has a standard that you can retire. I retired. And then I went back into law enforcement, went back through the police academy after I was recovered and went back into law enforcement."
Speziale's biography states he worked undercover with the DEA on the streets of New York in the late 80's and early 90's, He would later be elected sheriff of Passaic County Sheriff., NJ., a job he held until 2010. That's when he dropped out of a reelection campaign to take a high ranking job at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.
Throughout his career, Speziale has gotten the reputation as a tough cop who likes the spotlight, has penned his own book about undercover work, appeared as a law enforcement expert on numerous national television news programs, and even co-starred on the big screen as Richard Gere's supervisor in the cop drama "Brooklyn's Finest."
But if Speziale puts ink on the Prichard contract, his next starring role will land him on a stage where the drama is real and the stakes are high. Jerry Speziale says, he is ready.
"As a cop in New York I'd tell my partner in the car, I'd do this for free!"