Attorney General Matthew J. Platkin and Officer in Charge Isa Abbassi Release Strategic Plan for the Paterson Police Department
For Immediate Release: September 26, 2023
Paterson Police Department
– Isa M. Abbassi, Officer-in-Charge
PATERSON – Attorney General Matthew J. Platkin and Paterson Police Department Officer in Charge Isa Abbassi released a comprehensive Strategic Plan for the Paterson Police Department to move the agency forward into the Next Generation of policing. The Plan takes into consideration feedback from the community received through conversations and listening sessions with residents, and meetings with community leaders and elected officials, as well as discussions with business owners. Feedback was also received from members of the Paterson Police Department to ensure their voices are heard as the department charts a path forward for the future of public safety in the city.
The Strategic Plan is guided by five main values of the police department:
- respecting the Constitution and the law;
- maintaining the highest standards of integrity at all times;
- achieving public safety with courtesy and compassion;
- servicing the community; and
- achieving excellence through innovation.
“Six months ago, I made a commitment to the people of Paterson and the officers of their Police Department that we would work to restore their trust and deliver a public safety system that protects and serves all members of the community. And while we have much work to do to achieve those goals, I am proud to stand here today and announce a Strategic Plan that was developed with input, advice, and recommendations from the community and law enforcement,” said Attorney General Platkin. “Under the leadership of Officer in Charge Abbassi, the transformation of the Paterson Police Department is well underway, and we have already seen the results: a significant reduction in crime coupled with a growing sense of community and increased morale from officers within the department. Through the release of this Plan, we are making clear our immediate and long-term goals to make Paterson a safer place to live and work while restoring trust between the community and law enforcement officers.”
“We are moving the Paterson Police Department forward to become a more transparent and accountable organization that can serve the people of Paterson with the fairness and the constitutional focus our residents demand,” said Officer in Charge Abbassi. “We also remain committed to reducing fear and disorder on our streets while leveraging technology, training, and supervision to reduce crime while earning trust. I would like to thank Attorney General Platkin and our partners at the Department of Law and Public Safety for their continued support of the police department and this strategic vision we are releasing today.”
The PPD Strategic Plan is framed around four goals:
- Rebuild public trust and restore order in the community by building on the established mission, vision, values statements and code ethics of the PPD. This includes establishing a comprehensive youth strategy focusing on community resource collaborations, implementing precision policing, restoring quality of life, and increasing transparency.
- Evolution of community policing focuses on ensuring authentic engagement and communication with residents. This is achieved by encouraging community members and residents to have a say in the management of the police department and by rooting community policing in knowledge and understanding of the community. This includes collaborating with residents, government, businesses, and agency partners including community-based violence intervention agencies.
- Innovation, technology, and strategic evaluation utilizes state-of-the-art technologies and best practices to enhance the operation of the PPD, focusing on areas such as improved crime and data reporting and crisis intervention training. This includes launching a mental health strategy as an ARRIVE Together expansion site and the implementation of new body-worn camera technology.
- Recruitment, training, and employee well-being are critical components of a law enforcement agency that include comprehensive and continuous training and ensuring that officers are physically and mentally prepared each and every day. The PPD is examining recruitment and hiring practices to ensure equity, fairness and access to all those who wish to pursue a meaningful career with the PPD, Amplified recruiting efforts are underway to further boost the departmental ranks.
The initiatives outlined in the Plan are designed to make the PPD a more effective organization that can provide responsiveness and transparency while providing the quality of service the people of Paterson deserve and supporting employee well-being. To benchmark the progress and achievements of these goals, there are 55 overlapping initiatives outlined in the Strategic Plan to further progress the department and bring it into the next generation. Overall, the Plan anticipates an implementation period of two years, with a projected final report to be published in the summer of 2025. Routine progress reports will be issued over the course of this plan to keep the community informed.
One of the already-executed initiatives is the Neighborhood Revitalization Concept, which began with the Broadway Initiative that saw an increased police presence in the area, leading to an increase in the quality of life and decrease in crime. Other initiatives include equipping officers with less-than-lethal devices and reimagining officers’ field training, including a walking post along Broadway.
As part of the Innovation, Technology, and Strategic evaluation component of the Plan, the state procured, through an existing State Software Contract, the product Truleo Body Camera Analytics, which converts body-worn camera videos into customer service metrics by analyzing police-civilian interactions at scale. In many cases, the vast majority of body camera footage goes unreviewed by commanding officers. Utilizing this software, the video becomes searchable data by automatically labeling and bookmarking events in the videos. Truleo’s metrics enable PPD command staff to identify both high levels of professionalism as well as risky officer interactions. Other technology includes new cell phones for every officer with applications that will allow them to see calls for service to be dispatched, as well as the ability to write tickets and summonses.
In March 2023, the Office of the Attorney General assumed control of all police functions in the city of Paterson. To date, the State with the support of Governor Murphy and the Legislature has committed $10 million in funding for the police department in the FY2024 budget. This was in addition to approximately $1 million in preexisting resources from the Department of Law and Public Safety committed to the police department dating back to March 2023. A portion of that funding focused specifically on a summer violence reduction strategy that resulted in significant reductions in crime compared to last summer, including an almost 40 percent reduction in the number of shooting incidents. Highlights of the strategy included a violence reduction initiative, in which Paterson Police Officers provided additional coverage to strategic areas of concern identified by members of the community and officers alike, and the Neighborhood Revitalization Initiative, in which police resources have been positioned to reclaim and revitalize portions of the community challenged by significant public safety and quality-of-life concerns.