PRICHARD, Ala. (WALA) – Prichard Mayor Troy Ephriam said Thursday morning that Mike Rowland will be the interim chief of police for the city.
The news followed the resignation of Jerry Speziale, who’d served on the force for about nine months. Rowland is a former Bay Minette police chief and a 40-year veteran of law enforcement.
Ephriam said he learned that Speziale had taken a new job in his hometown in New Jersey late Wednesday and has communicated through the former chief through a source.
A press release issued Thursday morning confirms reports that Chief Speziale, who took the position last year, has resigned.
“The recent resignation of Jerry Speziale is both disappointing and understandable. We have known for the past months, since the death of his wife, that Mr. Speziale was having an extremely difficult time coping with the transition and aftermath of such a difficult loss. He has two young children who have been separated from their father in the aftermath of their loss,” explained Melanie Brown in a press release.
Chief Speziale’s resignation is immediate. According to NorthJersey.com he has already accepted a position as acting Police Director in his hometown of Paterson, New Jersey. The move comes less than a year after he was hired by the city of Prichard. Speziale has been a force on the streets. He is known to participate in raids and investigations alongside officers.
Speziale will be serving on a part-time basis in Paterson, according to the NorthJersey.com article.
“They’re going to pay me for 20 hours and I’m going to work 70,” he said in a press conference in New Jersey this morning. “This isn’t about money. This isn’t about part-time or full-time. This is about achieving a safer Paterson [County, NJ]. This is my hometown. You don’t know what this means to me.”
Speziale was the Sheriff of Passaic County until 2010 when he left to take a high ranking position with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. He then was hired as Prichard Police Chief in October of 2013.
Prichard Mayor Troy Ephriam says public safety is still a number one priority and the city has already begun the steps to fill the position.
FOX10 News is attempting to reach Speziale regarding the resignation. You can see a full story on FOX10 News beginning at 4 p.m.