PATERSON, NJ – The Paterson Police Department will grow by another 10 officers thanks to the receipt of a $1.88 million COPS grant, Mayor Andre Sayegh announced Friday. The grant, distributed by the U.S. Department of Justice, is designed to reduce crime and advance public safety through community policing by providing direct support to state, local, and tribal law enforcement agencies across the US.
“We are dealing with a pandemic,” Sayegh said. “But let’s be realistic, we have an American epidemic with gun violence,” pointing to a surge in shootings in cities across the US, including Atlanta, Chicago, and New York City.
“Guns are infiltrating our cities.”
Bringing the issue of gun violence back to Paterson, Sayegh said that “at the local level, recent and senseless acts of violence demonstrate that we need to be more vigilant than ever, addressing threats that take young lives and instill fear.” On Tuesday four men were shot dead, and another three injured, while on Thursday a domestic violence incident led to a woman being seriously injured and the suspect jumping off a building to his death. “As we bolster our public safety efforts, my administration remains committed to building trust between local police officers and residents, while keeping our community safe.”
Acknowledging that communities are speaking out about how law enforcement is conducted, Sayegh said that the grant comes at a “pivotal point in time.” Sayegh also pointed to the ongoing audit of the Paterson Police Department that was started last month as evidence of his Administration's efforts at “striking the right balance for Paterson."
With force that stands at 375, and another 21 recruits to be sworn in Monday, staffing still remains well short of the 418 officers called for in the Department’s table of organization, an issue Sayegh hopes to continue to remedy. Even at reduced levels, he said, law enforcement efforts have led to the removal of 102 guns, including seven over the Fourth of July weekend, from local streets in 2020.
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