Paterson Police Department adds de-escalation training to its police curriculum

The Paterson Police Department is adding de-escalation training for its officers and created a task force to review and recommend de-escalation policies.

News 12 Staff

May 25, 2021, 9:31 PM

Updated 1,064 days ago

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The death of George Floyd had an impact on how police departments across the country make arrests and investigate crimes.
The Paterson Police Department is adding de-escalation training for its officers and created a task force to review and recommend de-escalation policies.
“One year after the George Floyd tragedy, de-escalation is a priority,” says Paterson Mayor Andre Sayegh.
The mayor signed an executive order to form a seven-member task force, which includes community members.
Data shows that when de-escalation is taught at police departments, use of force drops by 25%, and injuries to officers drop 36%.
An organization called the Citizen Campaign offered research showing that nationally there are eight hours of use of force training for every one hour of de-escalation training for cops.
“Where there is de-escalation policies put in place, use of force lawsuits have dropped. Costs of use-of-force lawsuits dropped. That money can be used for de-escalation training, for better psychological training,” says Harry Pozycki of the Citizen Campaign.
Paterson police officials are in favor of this type of training.
“Excessive force is illegal. It’s not something that’s permitted,” says Paterson Public Safety Director Jerry Speziale.
Speziale says that police officers have a duty to de-escalate situations.
“I believe it helps with people with mental health issues, addiction issues, domestic issues, whether it’s demonstrations - it is important,” he says.
Paterson recently outfitted 100 officers with body cameras and the department is conducting annual audits of police. There is also a citizen review board.
“We are not asking our police officers not to do their jobs but obviously excessive force in Paterson has been an issue in the past,” Sayegh says.
The mayor says that the next step is to create trust between police officers and the public.


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