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‘Officer-in-Charge’ Local Police Bill Advances

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Trenton – The Senate Law and Public Safety Committee released legislation sponsored by Senator Nellie Pou allowing the Attorney General, upon assuming control of a police department, to appoint a person as the “Officer-in-Charge” during the period of time in which the police department is under the control of the Attorney General, even though the person has not yet satisfied training requirements established by the Police Training Commission.


Under the bill, when superseding a law enforcement agency in a city of the first class, the Attorney General will be empowered to appoint a person who has not previously met applicable training requirements. This would include Officer Isa Abbassi, a 25-year veteran of the New York City Police Department, who was appointed by the Attorney General and who started as Officer-in-Charge in the City of Paterson on May 9, 2023.


“The Attorney General’s appointment of Isa Abbassi, a decorated, qualified and seasoned police veteran, as Officer-in-Charge of the Paterson Police Department comes at a critical time for the City of Paterson, its residents and the rank-and-file officers who serve,” said Senator Pou. “Under this legislation, Officer Abbassi will have the authority to get on with this critically important work at hand, while simultaneously receiving the necessary and specific training he needs under the Attorney General’s supervision.”


The bill would authorize the Attorney General to establish and administer specific training requirements for the appointed person that take into account the person’s prior training, education, experience and qualifications in light of the requirements of the position. The Attorney General must ensure that the training is completed within one year of appointment.


The bill, S3943, advanced out of committee by a vote of 5-0.