Paterson Police Department Announces Completion of Hostage Negotiation and Crisis Intervention Training by 48 Members of the Police Force

Paterson Police Department Announces Completion of Hostage Negotiation and Crisis Intervention Training by 48 Members of the Police Force

For Immediate Release: February 12, 2024

Paterson Police Department
Isa M. Abbassi, Officer-in-Charge

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Media Inquiries-
Rob Rowan

PATERSON — The Paterson Police Department today announced that 48 officers have completed intensive Hostage Negotiation and Crisis Intervention training. This gives the department another tool to deescalate situations and reduce uses of force when officers are interacting with a person in crisis.

During the last week of January, members of the Paterson Police department attended Hostage Negotiation and Crisis Intervention training at the Public Safety Academy in Wayne. Forty-eight officers attended and completed the course, including the Department’s entire Emergency Response Team. The course was given by the Public Agency Training Council and instructed by Kimberlee Jones, who is a peace officer with the Lubbock Police Department in Lubbock, Texas. Jones is currently assigned to the Crisis Intervention Team as a mental health officer, where she responds to emergency calls involving citizens in mental and behavioral health crisis. The course involved both classroom learning and scenario-based situational training.

“Our officers handle thousands of calls involving persons in crisis every year. It is one of the most technical calls for service answered every day,” said Officer in Charge Isa M. Abbassi. “This training provides our officers with critical skills that they will use in their daily work. Our goal is to have the most capable, best-trained police agency in the region, and this training moves us one step closer to that goal.”

Officers learned the difference in the various types of negotiable situations, including differences between hostage situations and barricaded subject situations. Students will know the importance of using time as a tool and how to respond to hostage-taker demands, understand other principles of demand management, and have a basic understanding of personality typologies of hostage-takers, barricaded subjects, and persons in crisis.

The training has already been put in use. Early in February, Officer Eddy Pichardo, one of the 48 PPD officers who attended the Hostage Negotiation and Crisis Intervention training in January, responded to a report of a suicidal male on the roof of a building. Using the techniques learned in the training, Officer Pichardo went up to the roof of the building and began speaking with the male. As a result of Pichardo’s efforts, the male agreed to walk with the officer down the stairs and was taken to St. Joseph’s University Medical Center for further medical evaluation.

“This is an example of an officer with the right training putting their skills to use to benefit the community they serve,” said Officer in Charge Abbassi. “Every day, members of our profession save lives. On this day it was Officer Eddy Pichardo of the PPD. I want to commend Officer Pichardo for using his newly acquired skills in a situation that could have easily had a very different outcome.”

Additional resources for persons in crisis are already available within Paterson. In December 2023, Paterson became the first municipality in Passaic County to participate in the Alternative Responses to Reduce Instances of Violence and Escalation (ARRIVE) Together program through the New Jersey Office of the Attorney General. When Paterson police officers interact with individuals who would benefit from mental health resources and supports, they refer these individuals to CBH Care for care. CBH Care is a non-profit healthcare provider that provides community-based mental and behavioral health services in Northern New Jersey. Clinicians from CBH Care follow-up with the individual, without law enforcement, to ensure residents receive access to mental health and other support services. Additionally, New Jersey Transit Police and CBH Care conduct affirmative outreach at the Paterson Bus Terminal and provide mental health resources and supports to those in the bus terminal who need them.  Finally, a clinician from CBH Care is working with emergency dispatchers in Paterson to share best practices and gather information about the types of calls that go to the dispatch center with the goal of developing a mental health alternative response program—a program that does not involve law enforcement—for appropriate calls coming through the 911 system.