The New Jersey state Office of the Attorney General has taken control of the Paterson Police Department following years of problems, including criminal charges against a dozen officers, millions in legal settlements and fierce criticism of police use of force in the state’s third-largest city.
“There is a crisis of confidence in law enforcement in this city,” Attorney General Matt Platkin said during a Monday afternoon press conference on the steps of Paterson’s public safety complex. “That cannot continue. It will change, starting now. Effective immediately, my office has assumed control of all law enforcement functions of the Paterson Police Department.”
The move represented an operational takeover of one of the largest police departments in New Jersey, sidelining a police chief, Englebert Ribeiro, who was sworn in just three weeks ago, according to NJ.com.
Platkin appointed Isa M. Abbassi, a 25-year veteran of the New York Police Department currently serving as chief of strategic initiatives, to run the department starting in May.
In the interim, New Jersey State Police Maj. Frederick Fife will oversee the 400 officers in the embattled department, Platkin said. Chief Ribeiro, who just took over at the beginning of March, was relieved of command, though he remains with the department, Platkin said.