NJ Attorney General’s Office to take over Paterson PD amid ‘concerns’ about the department
New Jersey Attorney General Matt Platkin announced that his office would be taking control of the Paterson Police Department, effective immediately.
Platkin did not give a specific example as to why the decision was made on Monday, but stated, “due to a number of events and concerns relating to the Paterson Police Department, there is a crisis of confidence in law enforcement.”
Isa Abbassi, a 25-year veteran of the NYPD, will be the interim officer-in-charge, Platkin stated.
"I am confident with Chief Abbassi as the officer in charge, the Paterson Police Department will rise to the challenge again and become the department I know it can be, and one this community desperately deserves,” Platkin said.
In addition to the takeover, Platkin said he's implementing a handful of other changes. They include a program that pairs a police officer with a mental health screener in an unmarked vehicle to respond to 911 calls about mental or behavioral health issues.
RELATED: State AG's Office releases body cam video of Paterson police encounter with Najee Seabrooks
He also said the state will revamp its protocols statewide for dealing with people who have barricaded themselves in a room or building. Platkin formed a “working group” to study and make recommendations on interactions between police officers and violence intervention officers.
The New Jersey Violence Intervention and Prevention Coalition issued a statement calling for more action. The organization stated that the attorney general’s actions are a first step toward justice in the death of Najee Seabrooks – an anti-violence activist killed by police during a standoff – but there is still a need for accountability for the past harms and violence committed by the Paterson Police Department.
Paterson Mayor Andre Sayegh also responded to the announcement, stating that he is eager to review Platkin’s plan and timeline. He says that the city will do everything it can to improve the police department.
The Associated Press wire services contributed to this report.