After almost two years at the helm of the Paterson police force, police chief Troy Oswald is retiring on Feb. 1, 2020.
Oswald’s pension was approved by the state on Monday. He was forced to retire as part of a settlement agreement with mayor Andre Sayegh’s administration.
“To tell you the truth, I’m definitely going to miss it. It’s been a calling for 32 years,” said Oswald on Monday afternoon. He said he came into work every day with the intention of doing the “right thing every single day.”
Oswald is retiring at a $255,000 salary. Officials would not say how much he will receive in pension payments per year. He is also expected to receive a payout in the hundreds of thousands for his unused leave time.
Oswald was appointed chief by former interim mayor Jane Williams-Warren in Feb. 2018. In his first year crime drastically dropped, but climbed back up last year.
Mayor Andre Sayegh did not respond to a message for comment as to who will succeed Oswald. He is expected to name Ibrahim “Mike” Baycora as interim chief. If named Baycora will be the first Muslim police chief in the city.
Sayegh has been lambasted by City Council members over the past months for his moves to oust the chief.
“It’s a big loss in leadership in Paterson,” said Luis Velez, 5th Ward councilman. Municipal leaders and community activists often criticize the mayor for his lack of leadership. Some point out the mayor does not have strong leaders in his administration to implement his agenda.
Strangely, Oswald had been implementing Sayegh’s anti-crime plan. For example, Oswald had walking patrols in the Great Falls and South Paterson.
“He is going to be sorely missed,” said Lilisa Mimms, councilwoman at-large.
When asked if she thought the mayor made the right decision in ousting the chief, Mimms said, “Time will tell.”
Oswald also worked well with community leaders.
“I really do,” said Allen Boyer, pastor at the Bethel AME Church on Auburn Street, when asked if he thought the mayor made a mistake. “One thing about Oswald is that he was in the streets. He wasn’t one to sit behind a desk and direct people. He had a hands-on approach.”
Boyer worked with Oswald over the years. He said he found him approachable and responsive to the community.
“Troy is a good chief. He’s not biased. He is fair,” said Ruby Cotton, 4th Ward councilwoman.
Oswald made it his mission to clean up corruption in the police force. His efforts led to the arrest of eight rogue police officers. Seven of the eight have pleaded guilty. Two were sentenced last year.