Joe Malinconico Paterson Press

PATERSON — As a result of the city’s spike in shootings, the Paterson police department is getting a $700,000 federal grant for an intelligence center geared toward tracking guns used in crimes and identifying shooters.

Other cities that got the grants this year from the United States Justice Department were Charlotte, Cincinnati, Fort Lauderdale and Louisville.

“Big cities like Paterson have been the epicenter of America’s gun violence epidemic,” said Rep. Bill Pascrell Jr., D-Paterson. “With this grant, Paterson PD will have new tools and technology to swiftly identify guns used for criminal purposes and prosecute those who put our community in harm’s way.”

Officials announced the news about the gun center grant on Friday, less than 24 hours after the fatal shooting of a 25-year-old woman set a record for homicides in Paterson. She was the 28th person killed in the city in 2021.

Authorities on Friday did not release details explaining exactly how the gun center will go beyond the current investigative practices for tracing guns and their users. Pascrell said the grant will provide Paterson police with state-of-the-art technology.

Paterson Mayor Andre Sayegh and Congressman Bill Pascrell Jr. are shown at the tenth anniversary of the Great Falls becoming a national historical park. Monday, November 8, 2021
“This grant will enable us to be ahead of the criminals,” said Paterson Public Safety Director Jerry Speziale. “The Crime Gun Intelligence Center will provide essential information, which will help us prevent gun violence in our city while sharing information and working with our partners.”

Pascrell recently helped the city get a $3.7 million federal grant that will allow Paterson to expand the size of its police department to 439 officers, the largest it has been since 125 budget layoffs decimated Paterson’s law enforcement ranks in 2011.

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