Mayor Andre Sayegh on Thursday morning said police are forming a unit to crackdown on loud music and fireworks that have been keeping residents up at night.
Sayegh said police are reviving the quality of life force that was in place last summer.
“I want to assure residents that we’re going to be taking action,” said Sayegh in a City Hall news conference. “I know many of you did not sleep.”
Sayegh was flanked by public safety director Jerry Speziale and police chief Ibrahim “Mike” Baycora.
“We are taking a stance. We are going to have zero tolerance,” said Speziale. “We’re not playing.”
Police received 524 quality of life complaints – fireworks, loud music, and so forth – in June, said Baycora, who has come under fire for failing to quell large gatherings and noise disturbances.
Sayegh said the most affected parts of Paterson were the Eastside section, Liberty Street, and Jasper Street. He said the unit will began enforcement this week.
“We hear everyone’s frustration,” said Baycora. “We do have a plan. We’re going to increase our manpower for the weekend.”
Police will be “laser focused,” said Speziale, on loud music and fireworks over the weekends — Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday. Baycora said fireworks have been an issue throughout the region.
Fireworks present a fire risk in the densely pact city. Firecrackers and fireworks have been producing false shooting alerts in the gunshot detection system, said officials.
Baycora, who became chief five months ago, has found himself in a tough spot. He has just 360 police officer, lowest number in years, making it difficult to dispatch units for quality of life problems.
At the news conference a resident confronted Baycora for lack of police response in a large block party that took place last Friday on 17th Avenue.
“You had notification things were going to happen and you did nothing,” said the resident at the news conference. She is the same resident who knocked on the mayor’s door to seek a police response to tackle the large block party.
Baycora received a Facebook flyer that promoted the illegal block party three days earlier from councilman Luis Velez.
“You did nothing,” repeated the resident.
“That’s not true,” answered Baycora.
The large party, involving hundreds of people, took place, suggesting police took no preemptive measures to stop it.
The mayor said police are looking to deploy a mobile unit to better handle the many problems on 17th Avenue.
“We take your quality of life seriously,” said the mayor. But that’s not how residents have felt over the past two weekends when police were a no-show after residents called and complained about loud music only to be told-off by sullen dispatch operators.
“I want to see the action,” said councilman Velez, who has openly criticized the police chief over the handling of the 17th Avenue large gathering. “We need peace for our residents.”
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