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Prichard Police Chief Abruptly Resigns
PRICHARD, Ala. (WPMI) After just nine months on the job, Prichard's top cop has left the police department, and the city .
Mayor Troy Ephriam found out the news after Local 15 contacted him overnight and told him his police chief Jerry Speziale had accepted a new job in New Jersey.
As many people recall, Speziale's wife lost her battle with cancer earlier this year. Speziale's two children ages 11 and 16 are still in New Jersey. He says it was time for him to be with his family and that the job in Prichard, and travelling back and forth from Prichard to his home in New Jersey, was taking a toll on him. But it doesn't explain why he took a new job, and talked to the press in New Jersey about it, before even giving his own boss in Prichard a heads up.
As of Thursday morning, Police Chief Jerry Speziale resigned from his position with an official letter.
"For the last 14 days I've had chronic bronchitis. It's almost gone to pneumonia," said Speziale over the phone from New Jersey on Thursday.
Yet according to an article in NorthJersey.com just two days ago, Speziale was interviewed at Paterson, New Jersey's city hall, accepting the position as the city's new acting police director.
"What other dream could come true? You need to be with your children, you just lost your wife of 30 years and you have an opportunity to work in the city you were born in that faces the same problems as Prichard, to come home and lead it," said Speziale.
But Speziale never offered an explanation as to why he didn't inform mayor Troy Ephriam that he had accepted a new job. Instead, Local 15 News did, after reading the New Jersey article.
"It's hard to speak to the intent of an individual. You never know what's on a persons mind or what they're enduring and what they're going through. It's just my hope that his decision will make his life better. I'd like to wish former Chief Speziale and his family our best," said Prichard's mayor Troy Ephriam.
Ephriam quickly took action before most of us even got out of bed Thursday morning and called upon Bay Minette's former police chief Mike Rowland to fill Speziale's shoes as interim police chief for the city of Prichard. Rowland was the top finalist for the chief job last year, before Speziale applied for the job.
"It's a thrill to me to be able to come back to Prichard and give back to the community," said Rowland.
Rowland grew up in Prichard, attended Vigor High School and has 40 years of law enforcement experience. He also served as Bay Minette's police chief for nearly eight years before retiring.
He will assume Speziales salary of $85,000.