Forty-five days after taking over the police force, the New Jersey Attorney General Matthew Platkin on Tuesday announced appointment of a new chief to lead the Paterson Police Department.
Isa M. Abbassi, who previously served as the Chief of Strategic Initiatives at the New York City Police Department, started as the officer in charge at the Paterson police force.
Abbassi served in the NYPD for 26 years, where he oversaw policy changes and served as the primary advisor to the Police Commissioner on short-term and long-term strategic goals. He takes over from major Frederick Fife of the New Jersey State Police, who served as interim officer in charge since the March 27 takeover of the police department.
Abbassi will “rebuild trust” between police and the community, said Platkin.
“He is uniquely qualified to reform policing in Paterson and create a public safety system that protects and serves all members of the community,” said Platkin speaking of Abbassi. He thanked Fife for leading the force for the last 45 days.
Platkin said Fife laid the foundation for the future of this department.
“There is a need to reimagine public safety in the city of Paterson. We must accomplish this together, in partnership, with those we serve. Every resident and visitor to this historic and diverse city must know that their police department is trained, equipped, and supervised in a way that provides the professional, constitutionally focused police services the City of Paterson demands,” said Abbassi. “This department will be committed to rebuilding public trust and restoring order in the community while maintaining a focus on customer service and achieving excellence through innovation. This will not happen overnight, but I am confident that as we embark on this journey toward the next generation of public safety in the City of Paterson, the women and men of the PPD will rise to the challenge.”
Abbassi is implementing his plan called “PPD NEXTGEN,” described as a strategic vision for the police department that aims to protect life, maintain order, impartially enforce the law, and reduce fear while partnering with the community to improve the quality of life for all. His vision is based on four pillars: rebuilding public trust, evolving community policing, evaluating innovation and technology, and revamping recruitment, training, and employee well-being.
A new website has been created for the Paterson Police Department that offers civilian complaint and internal affairs referral forms in 12 languages.
Abbassi announced a series of community listening sessions in each of Paterson’s six wards. The sessions will begin at 6:00 PM and will be held at the following locations:
- John F. Kennedy High School (Second Ward) on May 15th
- Paterson STEAM High School (Third Ward) on May 17th
- Eastside High School (Fifth Ward) on May 18th
- Public School #6 (Fourth Ward) on May 24th
- Public School #25 (Sixth Ward) on May 25th
- Public School #28 (First Ward) on May 31st.
“There is no one size fits all solution to public safety,” said Abbassi. “That is why I am looking forward to hearing from the people PPD is sworn to protect to receive input on how we can improve the culture of public safety in our city.”