We'll get him! Green vows to get 'dirty' jail guard
by Al Sullivan Reporter Senior Staff Writer
Mar 15, 2002 | 309 views | 0 0 comments | 6 6 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Saying that nearly every law enforcement body had a dirty cop from time to time, County Corrections Department Director Ralph Green vowed to get the person who supplied an inmate with drugs.

Patrick Demedici, a 36-year old inmate at the Hudson County Correctional facility, apparently overdosed in his cell and was rushed to Jersey City Medical Center in the early morning hours of March 8. Syringes were reportedly found in his cell later.

"Every police department has dirty cops," Green said during the March 12 freeholder caucus. If that's who did this - and I suspected it is - I won't be embarrassed by that, but it is our obligation to catch him. We have our share at the Kearny facility and we have some at the youth house, too. We're actively seeking to catch them. And we will."

Green said the prosecutor's office and internal affairs are currently investigating the matter. He said Hudson County has some very good officers, and these officers also want the dirty cop caught.

"But we're not going to prevent this from happening," he said, noting that the size of the facility, the fourth largest in New Jersey, will be vulnerable to such events. But he said the correction facility is rated high around the country in terms of quality: 46th out of 3,500 facilities.

Green said that this is the only death at the Kearny facility in a decade.

Green noted that the internal affairs division stopped a female corrections officer on March 12 who was driving with a male inmate who had just been released. An investigation had turned up a personal relationship on their part, contrary to jail rules, Green said.

"She'll be suspended," he said.

Green said his department and officers are very concerned about the death and the drugs, saying that a dirty cop who would bring drugs into a jail is just as likely to bring inmates a gun.

"When our officers have to come into a situation like that, we know we have a problem," he said.

Freeholders Barry Dugan of Bayonne complained that the freeholders had been left in the dark on the happenings at the jail, and asked that a communication network be set up to allow freeholders to get information when events of this kind happen.

Freeholder William O'Dea of Jersey City, said under the former county executive, Robert Janiszewski, department heads and other officials in Hudson County were not allowed to talk to freeholders or anyone else, and that information had to come through the county administrator's office.

Freeholder William Braker - chairman of the Public Safety Committee - said he had been notified in a timely matter. However, he said that he had been told that the matter was still under investigation and he should keep the information confidential. Freeholder Chairman Sal Vega of West New York said he had been told as well, but had presumed the information had been passed to the other freeholders.

Mark Morchel, Hudson County's first assistant county counsel, has been named acting county administrator. He agreed to provide the freeholders with various telephone numbers that would allow them to get information promptly in the future. Caption: EXPLANING WHAT HAPPENED - Corrections Director Ralph Green explained the situation behind the death of an inmate at the Hudson County jail. Is Brennan Courthouse falling down?

Water seeping out of rotting pipes in the walls of the 92-year-old Brennan Courthouse in Jersey City may be rotting out the foundation, said county officials.

In declaring an emergency, Mariano Vega, Hudson County Public Resources director, asked the freeholders to expend $400,000 in repairs and $33,500 in engineering costs.

The leak is likely the result of a collapsed water line that has caused water to back up throughout the system. Repair of the various lines is difficult because many of the pipes are encased in walls in a way not easily accessible.

Vega said the antiquated water removal system is about 40 years past its life expectancy, and that repair costs would include a modernization process that would replace the current system with piping encased in PVC containers rather than concrete. If repairs are not done, Vega said, the integrity of the building's foundation could be compromised.

The building, which has been undergoing restoration and a study of additional needed works for several years, has been on the National Register of Historic Places since 1970. - Al Sullivan
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