Police Reform Comes to Paterson

PATERSON, New Jersey (WABC) — As communities across the nation mark one year since the murder of George Floyd while in police custody in Minnesota, one city in New Jersey is putting words into action.

Paterson Mayor Andre Sayegh signed an executive order Tuesday, making a police officer’s use of force record a key factor in determining whether they are eligible for promotion.

The executive order is based on policies proposed by The Citizens Campaign and the Paterson Civic Trust that were developed in consultation with experts with extensive law enforcement experience.

“The most lasting way to honor the memory of George Floyd is to work to make continuous improvements in our police department to ensure that our officers are effectively trained in how to safely de-escalate situations and only use force as a last resort,” Sayegh said. “Today’s executive order advances this goal by putting de-escalation practices at the center of policing in Paterson.”

The order also establishes the Mayor’s Task Force on De-Escalation and Police Practices.

Officials say the De-Escalation Task Force is designed to ensure a continuing search for — and implementation of — best practice de-escalation policies and programs, including increased and improved de-escalation trainings, better use of force reporting and more effective recruitment and hiring practices for consideration by the mayor and police director.

Evidence shows that an emphasis on de-escalation helps to reduce avoidable incidents and injuries for both Paterson residents and police officers, according to officials, and reduces the legal fees and the pay-outs cities make to settle excessive use of force lawsuits.