Paterson to launch new police patrols prioritizing community relationships

New Jersey

PATERSON, N.J. — Officials in Paterson announced what they’re calling phase one of a new policing strategy Monday, which involves enhancing police presence with a new foot patrols that will zero in on crime and prioritize community relations, they said.

“You hear, you see, you get to work with the community, you get to know what belongs on the block and what doesn’t belong on the block,” Director of Public Safety Jerry Speziale explained. “This is good old fashion police work.”

Veteran officers will be paired with new recruits for each patrol that will be on the ground between 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.

“The officers on the beat are approachable, so get to know them — they will get to know you,” Police Chief Mike Baycora said.

The new strategy comes on the heels of an apparent uptick in daytime shootings across the city. A shooting just last month left six wounded.

“We started seeing [a surge in shootings on] Sunday afternoons, and it was just unheard of,” Speziale said.

According to Mayor Andre Sayegh, the city’s gun suppression unit has taken more than 50 guns off the street this year alone. The pandemic, he says, is a factor in recent trends.

“People have been out of work, children have been out of school, it creates so much uncertainty and it creates an element of chaos,” the mayor said.

Paterson has made strides recently when it comes to policing. With its officer body camera program and an independent audit of its police department currently underway, officials hope their efforts don’t go unnoticed.

Officials also revealed Monday that Census results will play a huge role in how the city moves forward on their policing initiatives. If the population increases, it will open the door to more federal funding flowing into Paterson.

Patrols will be on the ground starting April 11.

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