Paterson, NJ – New Jersey Attorney General Matt Platkin announced on Tuesday that his office would be taking over the Paterson Police Department (PPD), effective immediately.
“There is a crisis of confidence in law enforcement in this city,” Platkin said from the steps of the city’s beleaguered police department, according to WABC.
“Something has to change and it will change starting now,” the attorney general continued. “Earlier this morning I exercised my authority as attorney general and superseded the Paterson Police Department.”
He explained that a New Jersey State Police trooper would take the reigns of the department immediately, WABC reported.
Platkin said that he was bringing in a new top cop to run things in May.
He said that New York Police Department (NYPD) Chief Of Strategic Initiatives Isa Abbassi, a 25-year veteran of that police force, would be coming aboard to take the helm of the Paterson PD, WABC reported.
The attorney general didn’t specify what had inspired the takeover of the controversial police department at the time of the announcement; however, his office has investigated a number of law enforcement incidents in the city in recent months.
A grand jury declined to indict Paterson police officers in December of 2022 in connection with the in-custody death of a man they had restrained two months earlier, WABC reported.
Platkin’s office brought aggravated assault charges against a Paterson police officer in February for shooting a fleeing suspect who prosecutors said was unarmed.
Paterson PD is the largest police department that the attorney general has targeted, but not the first.
He already took over the 11-officer Lavallette Police Department as well as four other small departments in Union County, according to WABC.
Platkin also announced he was launching a slew of new statewide protocols for dealing with suspects suffering from mental health crises.
The plan included a program that will pair officers with mental health screeners in unmarked police vehicles to respond to 911 calls about behavioral health issues, WABC reported.
He also said the state would change its protocols for dealing with barricaded suspects and said he had created a “working group” to study the problem and make recommendations on interactions between police officers and violence intervention officers.