For Immediate Release: April 5, 2023
Office of the Attorney General
– Matthew J. Platkin, Attorney General
Under the leadership of Interim Officer-in-Charge Major Frederick Fife, the team of law enforcement professionals announced last week, in collaboration with key members of the Paterson Police Department, have been reviewing, evaluating and analyzing information, procedures, policies, equipment, staffing, and the overall operations of the Paterson Police Department. Another critical effort includes assessing and improving the communication between the department and the public. This diagnostic process is labor intensive and will be of an ongoing nature over the upcoming weeks and months.
The leadership team has prioritized a plan to ensure public safety through the implementation of best practices that have a nexus to police and civilian encounters. To ensure that Paterson Police Officers have the tools they need, we have begun a training effort covering various policies and directives. This includes a formalized deconfliction policy and process to ensure that resources are allocated efficiently and in coordination with law enforcement partners. The Office of the Attorney General and the Paterson leadership team have begun meeting with community stakeholders have and we expect to announce shortly additional opportunities for community engagement.
This week, Paterson Police Officers received training in Effective Patrol Techniques, with a focus on constitutional policing with compassion. These sessions included Fourth Amendment law in a classroom setting, as well as participation in scenarios likely to occur in the course of everyday police work including motor vehicle stops. The leadership team plans to continue to provide this training over the next few weeks to additional officers within the department.
The team has also begun the process of providing additional technology to the Paterson Police Department, as well as connecting officers with the statewide Regional Operations and Intelligence Center (ROIC) and to the vast ROIC capabilities that advocate for precision policing.
The leadership team is also in the process of coordinating training to equip additional officers with conducted energy devices (Tasers) in order to provide another less-lethal force option when de-escalation techniques prove unsuccessful.
As we move forward, the new Paterson Police Department leadership will continue to make modifications to staffing and procedures. Some of these changes will be visible to the community, while others may not be so apparent for operational purposes. We will continue to communicate changes that impact the community’s interaction and relationship with the department as they develop. In the interim, we encourage members of the community to communicate with the new Paterson Police Department leadership. The existing Paterson Police Department website is in the process of being updated, as are social media accounts, to share information directly with the community. The website will include a community engagement portal for residents to provide feedback, share their concerns, and recognize extraordinary police work when they observe it. We look forward to welcoming that feedback and hearing from the residents of the City of Paterson. In the meantime, the existing website has been updated to include civilian complaint and internal affairs referral forms in twelve languages.
The reform process will not happen overnight. We remain committed to strengthening communication with community partners and the residents of the City of Paterson, and supporting the growth and development of the officers in the Paterson Police Department.