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Former NYPD official Isa Abbassi introduced as head of Paterson Police Department

Isa Abbassi’s resume includes a 26-year career with the NYPD, where he was most recently chief of Strategic Initiatives.

Matt Trapani and Chris Keating

May 9, 2023, 8:54 PM

Updated 406 days ago


There is a new person in charge of the Paterson Police Department. Attorney General Matt Platkin named Isa Abbassi as head of the department. It comes after the state took over the Paterson police force.
Abbassi’s resume includes a 26-year career with the NYPD, where he was most recently chief of Strategic Initiatives. While in that role, Abbassi oversaw policy changes for the department and served as the primary advisor to the police commissioner on short-term and long-term strategic goals.
Platkin called Tuesday’s appointment a great day. He went on to say that Abbassi and his team have been in Paterson for the last six weeks meeting with police officers, city officials and residents. It is all in preparation to take over and transform the department.
“This is a challenge that will be difficult and will take time,” Abbassi says. “But today we prepare for the next generation of policing.”
Abbassi unveiled a four-point strategic vision for the Paterson Police Department. It includes a plan to rebuild trust in the community and to evolve community policing. His team will also evaluate innovation and technology and revamp recruitment and training.
Abbassi also unveiled a new website – PatersonPD.com – to promote transparency.
The attorney general says that over the last six weeks, the Internal Affairs Department has been revamped and officers have gone through training in deconfliction.
"I think that people in this city and frankly officers in this department know that change is necessary,” Platkin says.
The state takeover was prompted after the death of community activist Najee Seabrooks. Seabrooks was killed during an hourslong standoff. Officials say that Seabrooks, who was high on drugs and hallucinating, lunged at police with a knife. Critics of the shooting argue mental health professionals should have been used and not the SWAT team.
Noticeably absent from Tuesday’s announcement was police brass, namely Paterson Police Chief Bert Ribeiro. He was on the job only three weeks before this takeover. News 12 has learned he's being re-assigned to the Police Training Commission in Trenton.
When Platkin was asked about this he said, "That's a city decision, you can defer to them."
Paterson Mayor Andre Sayegh was not invited to the announcement but has met with Abbassi.
"I've met with Mr. Abassi. He's pledged to be a partner in improving the way that we protect and serve our population in Paterson,” Sayegh says.
Sayegh, who is responsible for getting the department body cameras, says he is hopeful this new partnership leads to the hiring of more police officers.
Platkin says the transformation of this could take years. He adds that the progress that is made will be available to the public.

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