NEW JERSEY – Attorney General Matthew J. Platkin Wednesday announced the creation of a Multidisciplinary Public Safety Innovation Working Group (Working Group) to help strengthen and improve public safety across New Jersey.
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.
“Our efforts to transform public safety in New Jersey will be strengthened by the contributions offered by this multidisciplinary team,” Platkin said. “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.”
Members of the Working Group include:
- Steven Aguiar, Chief, Hoboken Police Department
- 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
- 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
- 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
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.