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Sunday, October 2, 2005  10:36 p.m.


The primary newspaper for the Bergen County area is the Bergen Record, or The Record.

In the Friday, September 30, 2005 edition, The Record ran a scathing editorial blasting New Jersey Officers and Passaic County Sheriff Jerry Speziale for their part and response to the incident in Virginia where New Jersey officers were stopped by Troopers from the Virginia State Police while returning from post-Hurricane Katrina duty.

Below are the first few sentences of the editorial as it was printed in The Record:

Above the Law

WHAT arrogance. What utter arrogance. A convoy of Passaic County police officers, returning from a Hurricane Katrina relief mission in New Orleans earlier this month, was stopped by police in Virginia for speeding at almost 100 mph with red lights flashing.

There was no emergency. The Passaic County cops just wanted to get home fast.


The piece went on to address Passaic County Sheriff Jerry Speziale:

As if this snubbing of the traffic laws weren't bad enough, Passaic County Sheriff Jerry Speziale made things worse. After hearing of the incident, he picked up the phone and, according to a tape recording by the Virginia police, berated the officer who made the stop.

"If you think that's not a disgrace, you should take that badge off and throw it in the garbage," Mr. Speziale told the Virginia officer. "This is unacceptable, and I'll tell you what. I hope to get the opportunity to show you the very same courtesy up here in New Jersey."


Aside from the writer's disdain for law enforcement, there is a bigger issue and lesson here.

This is what happens when we air our dirty laundry in public.

The entire issue of professional courtesy doesn't go over well with the public.  We should not fight about it in the press.  It is a lose-lose situation.

If you think the above editorial is bad, you should see what is being printed in the Virginia papers.

The whole situation is unfortunate and regrettable.

The biggest villain here, however, has to be the Trooper with the Virginia State Police who pulled the tape of the conversation between Sheriff Speziale and the VSP, contacted the media, and turned it over to them so it could be printed everywhere.

Great job you spineless piece of garbage.  Great job in handing the media more reason to keep this story going and attack your profession. 

From the transcript of that tape, it is clear that Sheriff Speziale was quite bothered by this whole episode.

Did he go a bit too far in everything he said? 

It's a matter of personal opinion, but you know what? 

It's about time someone goes a bit too far defending us instead of not going far enough. 

It's about time that someone goes a bit too far defending us instead of all those who go too far attacking us.

It was refreshing.

Talk About this Story

Sunday, October 2, 2005  10:36 p.m.

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