Bergen County Sheriff Michael Saudino and four of his undersheriffs resigned on Friday, a day after a recording of racist statements allegedly made by Saudino became public.
“The Bergen County Sheriff’s Office announces that effective this date and at this time Bergen County Sheriff Michael Saudino has submitted his resignation as the Sheriff of Bergen County,” the office said in a post to its Facebook page at 3:22 p.m.
Executive Undersheriff George Buono and Undersheriffs Robert Colaneri, Brian Smith and Joseph Hornyak also resigned from their posts.
Saudino’s departure follows calls for his resignation from top elected and party officials, including Gov. Phil Murphy and Rep. Josh Gottheimer.
“With the resignation of Sheriff Saudino, we can now begin the process of restoring faith in the Bergen County Sheriff’s Office after so much of it was so quickly eroded,” Murphy said following Saudino’s resignation. “And, we can begin the process of ensuring that the bigoted beliefs displayed by the former Sheriff are not given shelter in any corner of the Bergen County Sheriff’s Office – now or in the future.”
Until Murphy appoints a replacement, Sheriff’s Office Chief Kevin Pell will head the law enforcement agency’s operations, and Sheriff’s Office Warden Steve Ahrendt will oversee the department’s jail operations.
Editor’s Note: This article was updated with comment from Murphy at 4:09 p.m.