Hoboken Police Chief Aguiar named by AG to 18-member public safety working group


Hoboken Police Chief Steven Aguiar was named to the new 18-member Multidisciplinary Public Safety Innovation Working Group that was created by the New Jersey Attorney General’s Office.

By John Heinis/Hudson County View

“Our efforts to transform public safety in New Jersey will be strengthened by the contributions offered by this multidisciplinary team,” Attorney General Matthew Platkin said in a statement.

“These individuals have all been chosen for their perspective, expertise and commitment to supporting innovative approaches to public safety. Together, we can create a blueprint that can be adapted by communities throughout New Jersey and beyond.”

The Working Group is tasked with identifying best practices and policies for greater collaboration between law enforcement and community-based violence intervention organizations.

The group is comprised of violence intervention experts, law enforcement professionals, and community leaders.

The New Jersey Department of Law and Public Safety is working to improve how law enforcement officers interact with members of the community, with a particular emphasis on individuals experiencing mental health crises, emotional distress, and substance use disorder.

The Working Group members will make recommendations to the Attorney General that we anticipate will result in statewide policy changes, formalizing the collaborative efforts of violence intervention work and law enforcement – two essential aspects of the Attorney General’s public safety strategy for New Jersey.

“I am honored to be joining Attorney General Platkin and this exceptionally talented group of professionals to work toward progressive improvements between law enforcement and community relations,” Aguiar told HCV.

“Our team in Hoboken is always looking for ways to strengthen policing, and our relationship with the community we serve, and I look forward to bringing those efforts to a state level.”

The announcement of the new task force comes just one day after the New Jersey Office of the State Comptroller released a report reviewing 100 municipal police departments practices for allowing the public to report police misconduct.

The Hoboken Police Department was just one of five departments reviewed that was found to have met on all state mandates, as HCV first reported.

The other members of the Working Group are as follows:

• Rev. Dr. Charles F. Boyer, Founding Director, Salvation and Social Justice

• Steven Campos, Director, Office of Violence Intervention and Victim Assistance, Division of Violence Intervention and Victim Assistance

• Dr. Liza Chowdhury, Project Director, Paterson Healing Collective

• Daamin Durden, Executive Director, Newark Community Street Team

• Lakeesha Eure, Director, Newark’s Office of Violence Prevention and Trauma Recovery

• John Fuqua, Founder, Life Worth Living in Bridgeton

• Patricia Gusmano, Critical Infrastructure Coordinator / Risk Management Planner, Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office and Retired Chief of Detectives, Union County Prosecutor’s Office

• Dan Hafetz, Senior Advisor for Special Projects at the New Jersey Office of the Attorney General

• Kenneth Morris, Vice President of External Affairs, St. Joseph’s Health

• Det. Mudduser Malik, New Jersey State Police and President, New Jersey Muslim Officers Society

• Weldon Powell, Chief of Detectives, Division of Criminal Justice, Department of Law and Public Safety

• Giacomo Sacca, Chief, Elizabeth Police Department

• Aqeela Sherrills, Co-Founder, Community Based Public Safety Collective

• Patricia Teffenhart, Executive Director, Division of Violence Intervention and Victim Assistance, Department of Law and Public Safety

• Jennifer Webb-McRae, Cumberland County Prosecutor

• Renee White, JD, MSN, FNP-BC, PMHNP-BC, FN-CSA, Supervising Assistant Prosecutor, Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office  Special Offenders Unit and Director, Mental Health and Veterans Diversion Programs

• John Zutic, Special Investigator, Office of Public Integrity and Accountability, Department of Law and Public Safety

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