Port St. Lucie Police Chief Candidate Subject Of Federal Probe
A prime candidate for police Chief of Port St. Lucie is under federal investigation in his home state of New Jersey.
Jerry Speziale, a former Sheriff in Passaic County, New Jersey, who now serves as Deputy Superintendent of Police at the New York / New Jersey Port Authority is the subject of a Grand Jury investigation into the details of his appointment to his current position by New Jersey Governor Chris Christie.
Speziale is one of three finalists for the position of Police Chief in Port St. Lucie. Speziale said in his Port St. Lucie job application that his minimum acceptable salary would be $125,000. Speziale previously applied for the job of Police Chief in Miami and although he was one of ten finalists, he was not chosen.
Federal prosecutors believe Speziale resigned as Passaic County Sheriff, opening the office for a candidate supported by Christie in return for the promise of an appointment by Christie to his current position at the NY/NJ Port Authority. Port Authority police have been wracked with recent scandals including allowing cheating in promotional tests within the police department.
Whether Port St. Lucie officials are aware of what sources told the Florida Clarion was an “on-going” federal investigation is not clear. Speziale included a news clipping with his application that quoted an unnamed source as saying the “FBI” was investigating the circumstances of Speziale’s appointment.
Speziale started out as a New York City patrol officer stationed in the Bronx. He was shot and wounded in 1986. He later became an undercover agent assigned to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, and his sidekick was Bernie Kerik, who went on to become the city’s police commissioner but is now in prison for corruption. Speziale retired from the NYPD in 1997, followed by stints as a chief in New Hope, Pennsylvania; chief for the Bergen County Sheriff’s Office and the Passaic County Chief.