PATERSON, NJ - In a return to what Public Safety Director Jerry Speziale called “good, old-fashioned, policing,” the Paterson Police Department plans on implementing walking patrols across the city starting on April 11.
The initiative, Mayor Andre Sayegh announced Monday, is in response to an uptick in shootings in recent months, and a supplement to existing efforts to “enhance police presence.” It also comes just two weeks after the city’s chief executive stood on a street corner notorious for gun violence, most recently when five men were struck by bullets, and pleaded with residents to be a greater part of the solution.
Reflecting on his own time as a uniformed police officer in the Bronx, Speziale said that the new patrols, which will initially pair 10 of the Department’s newest officers with seasoned veterans for 30 days, is one of several “phases” in efforts to fight violent crime. Others, he said, include the extra protection initiative, increased use of technology in crime fighting, and continuing to partner with federal, state, and county law enforcement agencies.
Noting that shootings are not relegated to the overnight hours, and that in fact several have happened in daylight, even on Sundays, something he said was once unheard of, Speziale revealed that the foot patrols will be on the streets between 9:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. Outside these hours, he assured, other existing units will continue to do their work.
Deputy Chief Ronald VanKluyve, in his position as chief of the uniformed services division, will oversee the effort that is expected to run through the summer and designed to strengthen bonds with the community. The officers on foot patrol, he said, will be “approachable.”
“Get to know them,” VanKluyve said, directing his comments to residents and business owners. “We are the good guys, we’re here to help.”
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