In a continued and concerted effort to revamp and restore the beleaguered Paterson Police Department, (PPD) on Tuesday, the former head of the New York Police Department Strategic Initiatives Department was named Officer in Charge of the PPD.
Isa Abbassi, 50, was appointed the leader of the PPD by New Jersey Attorney General Matthew Platkin. At a press conference earlier this year, Platkin announced that the state would take over the day-to-day operations of the PPD following years of turmoil, scandal, illicit activity, and gross incompetence throughout the department.
Things hit a crisis level at the PPD earlier this year after a state trooper was shot and seriously injured in an unprovoked and still unsolved attack on a Paterson state trooper. And in March, Paterson officers shot and killed local community activist Najee Seabrooks, during a 5-hour standoff. Police defended the shooting as justified, despite eyewitness accounts to the contrary. The shooting and subsequent protest made headlines, putting the already scandal-scarred PPD in the national spotlight, and many contend expedited the state takeover of the PPD.
Abbassi retired last year from a 26-year career with the NYPD–including senior administrative positions. Abbassi said, “I want to thank Attorney General Platkin for entrusting me to fulfill his vision for the Paterson Police Department. 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.
Lastly, one of the first initiatives by Abbassi is a new website for the PPD that, among other things, will allow greater transparency and better communication between the police and the community. “there is no one size fits all solution to public safety,” he said. “I am looking forward to hearing from the people the PPD is sworn to protect to receive input on how we can improve the culture of public safety in our city.”