The sheriff of Passaic County, New Jersey, died from an obvious self-inflicted gunshot wound on Tuesday, in line with legislation enforcement sources, one week after the division was embroiled in turmoil together with layoffs and fees towards officers accused of beating an inmate.

Sheriff Richard H. Berdnik died contained in the Turkish restaurant Toros in Clifton, New Jersey, round 3:30 p.m., three legislation enforcement sources acquainted with the matter instructed NBC New York.

Paterson Mayor Andre Sayegh confirmed his loss of life in a put up on Fb writing: “I affectionately referred to Richard H. Berdnik as ‘America’s Sheriff.’ He was an exemplary legislation enforcement chief and a cherished buddy. Might he relaxation in everlasting peace.”

Mayor Sayegh had been on the Toros restaurant earlier on Tuesday to current a key to the town to the enterprise’ proprietor for donating 10,000 meals to these in want and free meals to medical doctors and nurses in the course of the pandemic. The sheriff didn’t attend the occasion.

“I look again in any respect our textual content messages between the 2 of us. I’ve recognized him for 14 years,” Sayegh instructed NBC New York. “He was an exemplary legislation enforcement chief and he was a cherished buddy.”

Richard H. Berdnik (Passaic County Sheriff's Office)

Richard H. Berdnik (Passaic County Sheriff’s Workplace)

Berdnik was a stalwart determine in New Jersey legislation enforcement, having served because the sheriff for 5 phrases. He was first sworn into the function in January 2011 and most recently won re-election for his fifth time period in 2022.

He’s survived by his spouse and 4 grownup youngsters.

The information of Berdnik’s loss of life comes at a turbulent time for the Passaic County Sheriff’s Workplace.

Final week, the Bergen Record reported that the sheriff had despatched a memo to his division describing a difficult time on the company and the necessity to lay off 29 jail corrections officers.

Additionally final week, a Passaic County correctional officer and two sergeants had been charged with deprivation of rights and conspiracy to hinder justice within the alleged beating of a pretrial detainee.

Prosecutors mentioned in a statement that the detainee was held at Passaic County Jail and splashed a combination containing urine onto a correctional officer. The next day, sergeants Jose Gonzalez, 45, and Donald Vinales, 38, and officer Lorenzo Bowden, 39, transported the detainee by an space of the jail that lacks a surveillance digital camera. Gonzalez and Vinales allegedly assaulted the detainee as he was handcuffed, and Bowden didn’t intervene. They didn’t submit documentation concerning using drive.

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy mentioned in a statement he was “deeply saddened to study of the tragic lack of Passaic County Sheriff Richard Berdnik” and praised his greater than four-decade profession.

“Each single day, Sheriff Berdnik earned the belief of his constituents in Passaic County, and labored exhaustively to fight felony exercise, modernize the operations of the Sheriff’s Workplace, and meet the excessive normal of service we anticipate from members of legislation enforcement,” he mentioned.

“Tammy and I had been blessed to have counted Sheriff Berdnik as an in depth buddy. We are going to miss him — and his management — dearly,” he added.

An investigation into his loss of life is energetic and ongoing.

Passaic County Prosecutor Camelia M. Valdes remembered Berdnik as a “true legislation enforcement skilled, companion, and colleague.”

“We lengthen our deepest condolences to the Berdnik household, the Passaic County Sheriff’s Workplace and all members of legislation enforcement touched by this tragedy. We thanks on your prayers and assist as we work by the gravity of this loss,” she added.

In the event you or somebody you understand is in disaster, name 988 to succeed in the Suicide and Disaster Lifeline. You can too name the community, beforehand referred to as the Nationwide Suicide Prevention Lifeline, at 800-273-8255, textual content HOME to 741741 or go to for extra assets.

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