Paterson residents ready for change after AG takeover of police department
The Paterson City Council were joined by activists as well as community members to discuss the recent takeover of the police department Tuesday.
Residents said for years they've been forced to deal with high crime rates, police corruption, and questionable tactics that recently turned deadly.
Normally, the Paterson Police Department headquarters would have local officials and Mayor Andre Sayegh attending such an event, but now, the attorney general's team is officially running operations.
"If the Attorney General is coming in with financial resources and additional resources to help restore the trust, repair the relationship with the police and public, then, once again, we will join hands in partnership," Sayegh said.
New Jersey Attorney General Matthew Platkin was quite clear the takeover was not a partnership and said effective immediately, his office has assumed control of all law-enforcement functions of the Paterson Police Department.
The tipping point for the state to step in came with the fatal police shooting of beloved community peace activist, Najee Seabrooks, who was shot and killed during a mental health crisis in his own home.
Paterson Police Department. (FOX 5 New York)
"There has been no oversight. My office has been contacting the attorney general's office for months over these issues, yet someone had to lose their life for someone to step in," said Mike Jackson, first ward councilman from Paterson.
Residents said they can breathe a sigh of relief now that positive change is possible.
"I heard about it, I was like wow, we need it, we really need it, with everything going on with the police department. I've been here 75 years and it's just been getting worse, worse, worse," said Jeanette Thompson, who has lived in Paterson her entire life.
Another resident told FOX 5 New York, that the takeover is a good thing.
"Paterson needs a lot of change going on," they said.
Right now a major from the New Jersey State Police is running the Paterson Police Department.
A spokesperson for the attorney general confirmed to FOX 5 that former New York City Police Department Chief of Strategic Initiatives Isa Abbassi will be the officer in charge beginning in May.