New Jersey State Police and the city’s police department have entered into an agreement to combat criminal street gangs and guns in the Silk City, according to city records.
The New Jersey Department of Law and Public Safety received $659,916 from the U.S. Department of Justice through the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services’ (COPS) Anti-Gang Initiative program, according to officials.
The CAGI grant will cover the collaborative effort to combat the city’s gang and gun problems. The agreement will create an eight-person weekend team that will work with the Ceasefire Unit.
The city’s roughest neighborhoods are controlled by street gangs that peddle illegal drugs and battle for territory resulting in shooting deaths of rival gang members and sometimes innocent bystanders.
Last year, the city had a relatively quiet summer after two groups agreed to a truce. Part of the city’s agreement with the New Jersey State Police states overtime costs incurred by police officers will be covered through the grant.
The state will also file the needed reports required by the grant.
Paterson has been touted by the U.S. Justice Department as a model police department in community policing due to the work of the Ceasefire Unit, the Community Policing Division, and the Special Operations Group. A case study featured in a department publication highlighted a 43-percent reduction in homicides in the first half of 2015. It also mentions a 72-percet reduction in non-fatal shootings in hotspot business curfew zones during the same period.
Council members approved the agreement on Tuesday night.
Correction (Aug. 5, 2016): A previous version of this report stated the state received $750,000 in federal grant funding when in fact it received $659,916.