Paterson Top Stories

On Target: Paterson Police Come Out on Top in Making Shooting Arrests



PATERSON, NJ – Paterson police officers have been far more successful in making arrests in non-fatal shootings than their counterparts were in other New Jersey cities, according to a story on

Over the past four years, about 25 percent of the non-fatal shootings in New Jersey high-crime cities get solved, the story said. But the Paterson police department has been successful in solving about 50 percent of its non-fatal shootings during that same time period, according to statistics in the story.

Sign Up for E-News

“I think that’s because we have a special unit that focuses on the non-fatal shootings,’’ said the Rev. John Algera, an anti-crime activist and pastor of Madison Avenue Christian Reformed Church. “For every shooting that takes place, you have the same group of detectives handing them. It enables them to focus on the problem.’’

That group of detectives – the Cease-Fire unit – was one of many formed in New Jersey cities in 2006 through grants provided by the federal government. But when the federal money ran out several years ago, some cities disbanded their Cease-Fire units. Paterson public safety officials have kept their intact.

“I believe we’re one of the last ones left,’’ said Lt. Patrick Murray, head of Paterson’s Cease-Fire unit.

The theory behind Cease-Fire is that by arresting suspects in non-fatal shootings police are preventing those criminals from killing someone sometime in the future. “When an individual points a firearm at another individual, the intent is to kill,’’ said Murray.

In some cities, investigations of non-fatal shootings don’t always get the same attention as those that results in deaths. “We investigate them with the vigor of a homicide,’’ Murray said.

The story said Paterson made arrests in 56 percent of its non-fatal shootings in 2008, 49 percent in 2009, 55 percent in 2010 and 40 percent in 2011. None of the other cities surveyed in the story – Atlantic City, Camden, Elizabeth, Irvington, Jersey City, Newark, Orange and Plainfield – reached 50 percent arrests in any of the four years. All eight of the others had years in which the percentage of arrests was less than 20, according to the story.

Paterson experienced a spike in non-fatal shootings in 2011 that has continued into 2012, according to statistics provided to through an Open Public Records Act request earlier this year.

The number of non-fatal shootings in Paterson jumped from 42 in 2010 to 82 in 2011 and the number of people wounded in those incidents climbed from 48 to 93. Preliminary statistics indicate those numbers continued to increase in 2012.

“One of our biggest obstacles is getting cooperation from victims and witnesses,’’ said Murray.

The Rev. Algera is a member of the city’s civilian Cease-Fire team. Several years ago, that group had outreach workers who would talk to witnesses and victims to try to convince them to cooperate with the police. Civilian Cease-Fire members also used to canvass neighborhoods after shootings to try to help authorities find people who saw what happened, said Algera.

With the loss of its outreach workers, the civilian Cease-Fire team has done less work on specific shootings and instead focused its efforts on community anti-violence initiatives like peace marches and public information campaigns.

Algera credited Murray and his staff with working hard to build ties with neighborhood residents. “They really reach out to the community,’’ Algera said. “I have seen them value the community’s involvement like no other police experience I’ve had.’’’

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News


Upcoming Events


Tue, July 17, 11:00 AM

Paterson Courthouse Plaza, Paterson

Tuesdays in the Plaza

Wed, July 18, 10:00 AM

Cancer Center Resource Room, Belleville

Living Well with Parkinson’s Disease Support ...

Health & Wellness


Wed, July 18, 10:00 AM

Paterson Board of Education , Paterson

Teacher Job Fair


Readers Says Let Developer Bring Paterson Back

July 13, 2018

Dear Editor: 

It is no secret that Paterson is in dire need of revitalizing, restructuring, rebuilding, and, quite frankly, rebranding. As a city, we have struggled to pay our municipal debt, to reduce crime substantially, to create sustainable employment opportunities for our youth and to provide assistance for our city’s most vulnerable residents. 

Today, we face an uphill ...

Pascrell, Renacci, Senators Celebrate House Approval of Congressional Gold Medal to Baseball Pioneer Larry Doby

July 11, 2018

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Representatives Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ-09) and Jim Renacci (R-OH-16) hailed the passage in the House of Representatives of H.R. 1861, the Larry Doby Congressional Gold Medal Act. The legislation awards the Congressional Gold Medal to the late baseball star, Larry Doby, who broke the American League’s color barrier in 1947.

“A proud ...

Newark Lures Amazon With $1 Billion Payroll Tax Incentive

July 12, 2018

NEWARK, NJ - Amazon will get a payroll tax break at a cost of $1 billion to the city should the company open its second headquarters here.

It’s one of two ordinances that were approved by the Newark City Council council to sweeten the deal for the corporate giant and stand out among other locations vying for Amazon’s so-called HQ2.

“The City Council has brought Newark a ...

Big Plans for Small Park in Newark’s North Ward

NEWARK, NJ- An under-utilized pocket park on Mt. Prospect Avenue in Newark’s North Ward has become a symbol of what can be accomplished in neighborhoods throughout the city through effective public-private partnerships. 

The park’s supporters have big plans for the public space, located directly across the street from the busy North Ward Center, located in an historic ...

I'm Sorry Mr. Jackson... I Am For Real

July 8, 2018

Hello again, Paterson. 

So much has changed since the last time I’ve written… as I’d hoped, Andre Sayegh is our new mayor and it seems an exciting new dawn is upon us. I think when any change comes, especially one as major as this, there is an opportunity for reflection as well as for hope. This election taught me quite a bit, seeing some of the best and worst sides of ...