Sunday, April 8, 2007

NYPD Proposes $1 Billion Police Academy

(NEW YORK) The search is over for a new Police Academy, and it is going to be spectacular - a 30-acre campus in Queens complete with 250 classrooms, firing ranges, indoor and outdoor tracks, a "tactical village" and a simulated subway station.
The projected price tag is equally breathtaking: $1 billion - and, perhaps, a lot more.
Mayor Bloomberg and Police Commissioner Ray Kelly announced yesterday that the current tow pound in College Point had been selected as the site of the new academy, replacing the woefully inadequate Manhattan facility that opened in 1964.
Also on hand were Queens Borough President Helen Marshall and City Council members Tony Avella and Peter Vallone Jr.
The mayor conceded that the cost was substantial. "Now that's a lot of money, but this is a smart and essential investment," he declared.
The debate over where to build a new academy has been going on for decades. In fact, Kelly produced a newspaper editorial from 1987 demanding that the East 20th Street police training facility be replaced.
Kelly explained that the current academy is so outmoded that to accommodate female recruits, the men's rooms had to be divided in half.
There's no track, so recruits jog along the FDR Drive. Classes are conducted in split day and night sessions.
"Our officers deserve it, and so do all New Yorkers," Kelly said. "The public is going to be the ultimate beneficiary of this facility."
Weapons training now conducted at a firing range in The Bronx and emergency-vehicle training conducted at Floyd Bennett Field in Brooklyn would be consolidated at the new 30-acre campus.
To train against subway terror attacks, a simulated station would be built.
Bloomberg said no decision has been made on the fate of the current academy or firing range. But he suggested the academy building might be sold to a developer, who'd have to agree to make room for the existing police precinct.
With elected officials cheering the selection, the major issue facing the academy appears to be the cost, not the usual community opposition.
"It's hard to be against it, but you have to take a hard look at this," said one source who predicted tough questions from the City Council. "One billion dollars is a big number."

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