PATERSON – Attorney General Matthew J. Platkin announced today that former New York City Police Department (“NYPD”) Chief of Strategic Initiatives Isa M. Abbassi has officially started as Officer in Charge of the Paterson Police Department. Abbassi was appointed to the role by Attorney General Platkin when his office superseded the Paterson Police Department in March, taking over all police functions in the city.
“Isa Abbassi is an innovator and an experienced communicator who will lead the Paterson Police Department with dedication, compassion, and skill as we rebuild trust between the police department and the community it serves. He is uniquely qualified to reform policing in Paterson and create a public safety system that protects and serves all members of the community,” said Attorney General Platkin. “I want to thank NJSP Major Fred Fife who has graciously and skillfully served as the Interim Officer in Charge leading the Paterson Police Department through this transition and who, with a team of experts from my Department, has carried out the critical ground work to establish a foundation for the future of this department to be built upon.”
Officer in Charge Abbassi recently retired from his 26-year career with the NYPD where he was most recently Chief of Strategic Initiatives. While in the role, he oversaw policy changes for the department and served as the primary advisor to the Police Commissioner on short-term and long-term strategic goals. He takes over from Major Frederick Fife of the New Jersey State Police who served as Interim Officer in Charge.
“I want to thank Attorney General Platkin for entrusting me to fulfill his vision for the Paterson Police Department,” said Officer in Charge Abbassi. “There is a need to reimagine public safety in the city of Paterson. We must accomplish this together, in partnership, with those we serve. Every resident and visitor to this historic and diverse city must know that their police department is trained, equipped, and supervised in a way that provides the professional, constitutionally focused police services the City of Paterson demands. This department will be committed to rebuilding public trust and restoring order in the community while maintaining a focus on customer service and achieving excellence through innovation. This will not happen overnight, but I am confident that as we embark on this journey toward the next generation of public safety in the City of Paterson, the women and men of the PPD will rise to the challenge.”
After taking command of the department, Officer in Charge Abbassi is implementing several immediate initiatives to improve public safety and the relationship between police and the community in Paterson including:
- A strategic vision for the police department called PPD NEXTGEN. The first part of which includes a mission statement to protect life, maintain order, impartially enforce the law, and reduce fear while partnering with the community to improve the quality of life for all. PPD NEXTGEN establishes the following four areas in which the PPD and the Paterson community will work together to identify and then achieve clear deliverables: (1) rebuild the public trust and restore order in the community; (2) evolve community policing by working to develop a holistic and community-led approach to problem solving; (3) evaluate innovation, technology and strategies currently used by the department; and (4) revamp recruitment, training, and improve employee well-being.
- A new website for the Paterson Police Department to allow for greater transparency by showcasing new plans and initiatives for the department as well as Officer in Charge Abbassi’s vison for the department. It will also be more user friendly for community members to access information, recognize exemplary police services, or file a civilian complaint or internal affairs referral form, both of which will be offered in 12 languages.
- All social media will be posted under the handle @PatersonPD on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to allow for better communication with the community.
Officer in Charge Abbassi also announced a series of community listening sessions in each of the City’s six wards—all of which will begin at 6:00 in the evening:
- May 15th at John F. Kennedy High School located at 61-127 Preakness Avenue in the Second Ward
- May 17th at Paterson STEAM High School located at 764 11th Avenue in the Third Ward
- May 18th at Eastside High School located at 150 Park Avenue in the Fifth Ward
- May 24th at Public School #6 located at 137 Carroll Street in the Fourth Ward
- May 25th at Public School #25 located at 287 Trenton Avenue in the Sixth Ward
- May 31st at Public School #28 located at 200 Presidential Boulevard in the First Ward
“There is no one size fits all solution to public safety,” continued Officer in Charge Abbassi. “That is why I am looking forward to hearing from the people PPD is sworn to protect to receive input on how we can improve the culture of public safety in our city.”