Sussex County News

Sparta's New Police Chief Looks to the Future

Sparta Township Manager William Close and Police Chief Neil Spidaletto Credits: Jennifer Dericks

SPARTA, NJ – Sparta Police Department will have a new chief as of June 2.  Neil Spidaletto will be promoted to the position in a ceremony open to the community in the Sparta High School auditorium, Spidaletto’s alma mater. Sparta Township Manager Bill Close made the announcement at the council meeting on Tuesday.

Spidaletto has served under the title “acting chief” since Ernie Reigstad retired in March. 

His 23 years experience in the Sparta Police Department began in 1995 when he started as a patrolman.  In 1999 he rose to Detective, in 2003 was promoted to Sergeant and Lieutenant in 2013.

Sign Up for E-News

A Sparta High School alumnus, Spidaletto has a Masters of Public Administration in Human Resources from Seton Hall.  He received his bachelors degree in Political Science from Villanova University.  Spidaletto recently attended the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s National Academy.

Looking at the challenges before him Spidaletto points to the principals of policing that “have not changed over centuries.”  Drawing their authority from those whom they serve, “law enforcement has certainly gotten more complex in the two decades” he has served. 

“Just as when I started, we…are expected to…enforce all the laws of the state,” Spidaletto said.  “The challenges arise in the fact that we are expected to do so much more.  There are many more laws, guidelines and directives to be informed on and followed.”

Advances in technology also present new challenges to policing.

“Transparency has been in the forefront of law enforcement with many more agencies acquiring body cameras memorializing nearly all interactions,” Spidaletto said.  “I see these a positive changes and am confident that Sparta officers are conducting themselves in a professional way.”

Body cameras are only one example of the technological advances that impact policing according to Spidaletto.  He noted that while they can assist officers in their duties, they must be diligently trained to ensure the level of professionalism is maintained. 

Assisting residents who have mental health or addiction challenges is another example of the changes in policing. 

“Law enforcement throughout the state are required to receive training on how to effectively handle these types of incidents,” Spidaletto said.  “We are committed to partnering with Newton Chief Mike Richards and the Center for Prevention and Counseling in the CLEAR program. Sparta’s recent commitment to the Stigma Free Initiative supports that program.”

The challenges arise in making sure that the officers of the  Sparta Police Department are completely informed, trained, and capable of handling these multitude of changes, according to Spidaletto.

There are a few other initiatives Spidaletto is working on as well.  The department has had a goal of attaining accreditation through the New Jersey State Association of Chiefs of Police. 

“We just recently received notification that we have been accepted to this program,” Spidaletto said.  “This process will allow our agency to further enhance our performance and objectives.”

The accredition will institutionalize best practices from agencies throughout the state.  It represents “a significant professional achievement for the agency. I am confident that our agency will not have any problem meeting these standards.”

The chief is looking forward to continuing the Public Safety Commission and Community Matters efforts.  He points to storm preparation and educating the children of the community with Law Enforcement Against Drugs or LEAD officers in the schools as initiatives that continue to strengthen the relationships between the police and the community.

School security oversight “has always been a priority” for the Sparta Police Department.  While much has been done “to prepare and respond to any incident at schools and daycare centers,” Spidaletto is committed to “continued evaluation and training.”  

“We always encourage to the community to be aware and contact us with anything they believe is suspicious or something they feel we should know,” Spidaletto said.  “It is with the assistance of the community that crimes may be prevented.” 

“He has proven himself as a respected leader throughout the organization who has displayed an exceptional level of professionalism during his career in law enforcement,” Close said.

He noted Spidaletto had been raised in Sparta and he is raising his family in this community as well.  The Chief’s father was also a Sparta police officer for 16 years. 

“He is dedicated to serving the residents of the community and to the men and women under his command,”Close said. 

“I would like to extend an invitation to anyone in the community who may want to attend and observe the promotional ceremony,” Spidaletto said.  The June 2 event is scheduled to being at 6 p.m.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News


Sparta Police Pick Up Franklin Woman Driving While Suspended

March 18, 2018

SPARTA, NJ – A traffic stop yielded an arrest for driving with a suspended license for a Franklin woman.  On March 13 around 11:30 p.m. Sparta Police Officer Timothy Lynott stopped Christina Bradford on Route 15 for having a broken tail light on her gray GMC pickup, police report.

When the officer checked her credentials, he found Bradford’s license had been suspended and she ...


March 11, 2018



Republican Freeholder Candidates, Dawn Fantasia and Josh Hertzberg commended the District 24 Legislators for taking action in the wake of the horrific school shooting that took the lives of 17 at Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida.   


Senator Oroho, Assemblyman Space and ...

Alex Majewski Joins Race for Newton Town Council

NEWTON, NJ – Alex Majewski officially launched his campaign this week for Newton Town Council, pledging to make municipal government work by placing residents and taxpayers first.

“A new beginning for Newton starts now.  We need to strengthen the communication and interaction between residents, business owners, and public servants,” Majewski said. “Newton ...

Upcoming Events


Tue, March 20, 6:30 PM

Sparta United Methodist Church, Sparta

Girl Scout STEAM Program

Arts & Entertainment Education


Sat, March 24, 6:00 PM

Perona Farms, Sparta

Trout Unlimited Annual Fund Raising Banquet

Arts & Entertainment

Sun, April 8, 1:00 PM

Van Kirk Homestead Museum, Sparta

Life Along the Wallkil River



Fri, April 13, 5:00 PM

Sparta High School Auditorium, Sparta

2nd Annual Jazz Festival at Sparta High School

Arts & Entertainment


Sat, April 14, 9:00 AM


Jr Lions Football - Meet & Greet

Education Sports

Sun, April 22, 1:00 PM

Van Kirk Homestead Museum, Sparta

Life Along the Wallkil River


Sun, May 13, 1:00 PM

Van Kirk Homestead Museum, Sparta

Life Along the Wallkil River


Sun, May 27, 1:00 PM

Van Kirk Homestead Museum, Sparta

Life Along the Wallkil River


Sun, June 10, 1:00 PM

Van Kirk Homestead Museum, Sparta

Life Along the Wallkil River


Sun, June 24, 1:00 PM

Van Kirk Homestead Museum, Sparta

Life Along the Wallkil River


Sparta Students Silent Walk Out for School Security

March 14, 2018

SPARTA, NJ –As a show of unity and protest for the school shooting in Parkland Florida one month ago, a couple hundred Sparta High School students walked out of school, standing in silence for 17 minutes.  Each minute represented each of the students killed in the school shooting.

Sparta students joined with students across the country on Wednesday at 10 a.m. Nearly 60 students ...

5 Tips for elected officials

March 9, 2018

Dear Editor,

Wayne Levante, a self-described moderate, business-friendly mayor of Newton since his appointment 8 months ago, has been mired by one misstep and controversy after another.  From peddling debunked conspiracy theories about student “crisis actors” in the Parkland, Florida mass school shooting on social media, attacking residents and calling them ...

6 Easy Ways to Increase Zzzz’s During National Sleep Awareness Month and Beyond!

Team Nest Builder knows sleep deprivation leads to a myriad of problems, so we’re here to help you make your New Jersey home bedrooms the havens you deserve! Take a look at these simple ideas for increasing your zzzzz’s:

Soften Up

Employ a large area rug that covers the entire room to help absorb sound and enhance comfort.

Feeling Blue

According to a study by Travelodge, ...

4 Top Reasons NOW Is A Great Time To Buy A New Jersey Home

Team Nest Builder offers four great reasons to consider buying a home today instead of waiting:

Prices Continue to Rise

CoreLogic’s latest Home Price Index reports that home prices appreciated by 6.6% over the last 12 months. The same report predicts prices will continue to increase at a rate of 4.3% over the next year.  The bottom in home prices came and left. Home values will ...


AtlantiCast: Episode 13

On this episode of AtlantiCast, new clinical studies in the fields of cardiology and immunotherapy, national and statewide recognitions for Atlantic Health System medical centers and the inaugural AtlantiCast Collab Challenge!


Sparta High School Hosts Second Annual Jazz Festival

March 19, 2018

SPARTA, NJ - The award-winning music department of Sparta High School is hosting its second annual Jazz Festival on Friday, April 13, 2018. The event gathers fifteen top jazz bands from northern New Jersey, who compete for group and individual ratings.

The Festival will once again take place in the modern, thousand-seat auditorium of Sparta High School, where the township’s jazz bands ...