Paterson Police Department to undergo audit amid corruption probe

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The Paterson Police Department will undergo an audit in an attempt to regain the public’s trust after eight police officers were arrested in a corruption probe.

Mayor Andrew Sayegh says that the data collection and review will begin March 1.

“We want everyone to be proud of the men and woman that put the honorable uniform on,” the mayor says.

Sayegh says that he believes in transparency and wants to reestablish the trust between officers and Paterson residents.

“It’s not easy when you have eight crooked cops, who do not define the department by [any] means,” Sayegh says.

The mayor was joined by Paterson Police Chief Ibrahim Baycora for Monday’s announcement.

"That's not the norm. That doesn't define us, and I want to point out that it was our department that initiated the investigation,” the chief says.

RELATED: Paterson police to be equipped with body cameras following corruption probe 
RELATED: Authorities: 8th Paterson officer facing charges in corruption probe 

Much of the review was spurred by an FBI investigation into corruption in the Paterson Police Department. Eight officers were charged with stealing from people during illegal searches and traffic stops.

Outside contractor Police Executive Research Forum (PERF) will conduct the audit. The agency has worked with police departments in Chicago, Philadelphia and Washington.

“We will interview everyone we can find. We will talk with leadership, we will talk with city lead…talk to officers, sergeants, lieutenants,” says PERF’s Tom Wilson.

PERF will collect data to review, including use-of-force policies, training for police officers and the organization as a whole in order to offer ways for it to improve. Sayegh and other Paterson leaders have already been pushing for improvements. Officers will soon be getting body cameras, and there will be a heavier focus on recruiting new officers from within Paterson.

“They will come up with recommendations and those recommendations will come throughout this process,” says Paterson Public Safety Director Jerry Speziale.

Former Philadelphia Commissioner Charles Ramsey will be assisting. The audit will cost about $160,000. The final results will be released to the public in nine months.

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