The city of Paterson has already had 100 shootings this year, on track to outpace last year’s 163 shootings. Public officials say they are doubling down on policing efforts: “Whether it be law enforcement strategies, whether it be community collaboration, whether it be partnerships — all those things together is how we will respond to the violence,” said Jerry Speziale, Public Safety Director with the Paterson Police Department.
But community groups like the Paterson Healing Collective say that adding more police is not the answer. They say their hospital-based intervention program has greater, proven success than a “lock them up and throw away the key” approach. And they’re calling for significant funding from the city once it receives its allocation of federal American Rescue Plan Act funds.