Paterson Police Department Overhaul: State Takes Control, Appoints NYPD Veteran to Restore Confidence and Improve Public Safety
*Updated 3/27/2023 at 11:02 PM with cover photo.
PATERSON, NJ - New Jersey Attorney General Matthew J. Platkin announced that his office has assumed control of the Paterson Police Department, effective immediately. Isa Abbassi, currently the NYPD's Chief of Strategic Initiatives, will take over as Officer-in-Charge of the Paterson Police Department in May.
Abbassi, a 25-year NYPD veteran, has a proven track record of implementing policy reforms and building community relationships. He was awarded the NYPD’s most prestigious command recognition, the Unit Citation, for crime and violence reduction in Staten Island in 2019.
Major Fred Fife of the New Jersey State Police (NJSP) will serve as Interim Officer-in-Charge until Abbassi assumes his role. Fife will be supported by Captain Jafca Mandziuk, also of the NJSP, and Assistant Attorney General Joseph Walsh, among other members of the Department of Law and Public Safety.
Attorney General Platkin cited a "crisis of confidence" in the Paterson Police Department as the reason for his intervention. He expressed his commitment to restoring public confidence in the department and providing the necessary resources and support for its officers.
In addition to taking control of the police department, Attorney General Platkin has announced several initiatives aimed at improving public safety in Paterson and across the state. These include:
- Implementing the ARRIVE (Alternative Responses to Reduce Instances of Violence & Escalation) Together mental health-law enforcement co-responder program in Passaic County, including Paterson.
- Revising the statewide Use of Force Policy to include protocols for dealing with barricaded individuals.
- Forming a working group to study and produce policy recommendations concerning interactions between law enforcement and community-based violence intervention (CBVI) groups.
Platkin acknowledged that these measures would not immediately resolve the issues in Paterson but emphasized that they represent the state's commitment to ensuring the safety and success of the entire Paterson community.
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