By: Najla Alexander
Paterson officials reported Isa Abbassi, officer in charge, announced a Summer Crime and Quality of Life Strategy designed explicitly for Memorial Day and Labor Day 2023 when more residents spend time outdoors in their communities.
According to officials, the Paterson Police, with support from Attorney General Matthew J. Platkin and the New Jersey Department of Law and Public Safety, along with state and local public safety partners, will implement the innovative strategy to increase overall safety in the City of Paterson while strengthening community relationships.
"The Summer Strategy we are announcing today includes significant violence reduction efforts made possible by Attorney General Platkin's ongoing commitment to Paterson."
"Through the allocation of State resources, personnel, technology, and nearly 1 million dollars in additional summer funding, we will be able to bring about meaningful improvements in public safety for the residents of this city," said officer in charge, Abbassi.
"Law enforcement officers know that as the weather gets warmer, crime often increases. Our mission since the first day we stepped into PPD (Paterson Police Department) was to improve public safety and the relationship between our officers and the community."
"With this comprehensive plan, we can provide the services that our residents deserve and should expect. The building blocks in this plan will be carried over for years as we work toward the NextGen of policing in Paterson."
Highlights of this plan include:
- Violence Reduction Initiative: Officials say more than $900,000 in state funding from Attorney General Platkin's Department of Law and Public Safety will allow for increased police personnel to be assigned to dedicated hotspots that have historically seen increased violence in the summer months. Enhanced patrol techniques that de-escalate tense situations paired with data-driven enforcement actions are designed to promote a safer community for those who live and work in Paterson and its summer visitors.
- After-Hours Social Club Enforcement and Multi-Agency Response to Community Hotspots (MARCH) program: Paterson officials stated the Paterson Police will prioritize enforcement actions against illegal businesses catering to patrons after the midnight curfew in place. These locations are often a source of violence and generate quality-of-life complaints related to noise and parking. They will partner with other city and state agencies to conduct coordinated inspection and enforcement operations on businesses and illegal clubs as part of its MARCH program. These partner agencies include the New Jersey Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control, the New Jersey Division of Criminal Justice, the Paterson Fire Department, and the Paterson Division of Community Improvements.
- Neighborhood Revitalization Initiative: According to authorities, with the help of extensive input from community members and leaders throughout Paterson's six wards, the Paterson Police has identified locations for Neighborhood Revitalization. The Department will deploy significant police resources to the Neighborhood Revitalization locations throughout the summer months to build partnerships in crucial community areas plagued by public safety and quality of life concerns. This initiative will partner with other city and state agencies and demonstrate Paterson's Police Department and its commitment to the shared responsibility for improving safety and the overall well-being of the City of Paterson.
- Creative Deployment of Resources and Operation 'All-Out': Resources not typically used by police to patrol the city, such as the Traffic Unit, Emergency Response Team, and specific investigative units, will be repurposed this summer to critical areas throughout the city. A portion of each officer's shift will be spent in areas identified by data analysis as those with high crime levels and large numbers of quality-of-life complaints. Additionally, authorities say certain personnel who handle administrative duties will be required to spend time on patrol during the summer months to enhance police presence in the city, improve police accountability and supervision, and ensure that the members of the Paterson Police Department gain greater familiarity with the community members they serve.
- Reimagined Field Training Program: This program will utilize foot patrols for the newest members of the Department when they can positively impact Paterson residents' quality of life. This will also allow them to develop relationships with community members and learn about the city's diversity. Officials stated their first assignment will be in an area selected for Neighborhood Revitalization.
- Quality of Life Response Program: Officials said police personnel will be assigned to off-duty details to address quality-of-life calls for service during weekend night hours exclusively. Personnel will also focus on patrolling public parks to ensure compliance with park rules and closing times.
- Summer Youth Programming and Community Partnerships: Paterson Police is partnering with community organizations throughout the city to provide opportunities for youth engagement, summer employment, camp experiences, and meaningful partnerships. It will give young people in Paterson with a safe place to go while school is out during the summer months. A flyer can be found here.
- Working with Community-Based Violence Intervention Groups: According to officials, the Paterson Police is committed to actively participating in and expanding the work of violence intervention programs in the City of Paterson. These efforts focus on the vital work of identifying those at risk and providing the resources and interventions that only come through coordinated and collaborative relationships.
- Conducting Citywide Recurring Community Roundtable Discussions: Having completed a series of community listening sessions in each city ward, the Paterson Police will now transition to the next phase of its ongoing efforts to improve community relations with the Department, officials say. Throughout the summer and beyond, the community roundtable discussion sessions will allow the Paterson Police to understand better the community's needs and how the Department is meeting them in smaller group discussions. This meeting schedule will be announced monthly, and opportunities to sign up will be provided via telephone at patersonpd.com and through the email address CommunityCares@patersonpd.com.
"PPD is committed to the safety of our city's residents and visitors. The efforts being undertaken by our Department over the summer months will bring police officers and community members together more often and strengthen the community bonds of our Paterson home," said Officer in Charge Abbassi.
"We encourage community members to continue to engage with our Department as we improve the lines of communication between the Department and the community we serve."
Officials said these efforts will be coordinated closely with agency partners to ensure that resources are aligned.
Key partners to the Paterson Police Department include the New Jersey Department of Law and Public Safety, the Division of Criminal Justice, the New Jersey State Police, the Passaic County Prosecutor's Office, the Passaic County Sherriff's Office, ATF, FBI, and others.