Tag Archives: police academy

EXCLUSIVE: Fire, flood stalls completion of College Point police academy


| mchan@queenscourier.com

Photo renderings courtesy of NYPD

Completion of the new police academy in College Point has been pushed back three months due to fire and flood damage, The Courier has learned.

The majority of construction on the new $656 million police academy at 128-11 28th Avenue will be finished in March, instead of this month as originally planned, according to the NYPD.

Deputy Chief Kim Royster, a Police Department spokesperson, said the project was first stalled when flood waters from last year’s Superstorm Sandy damaged custom air handlers in storage.

A fire in April also melted the building’s exterior glass atrium, scorching a number of outside panels at the north side of the building and destroying portions of its façade, Royster said.

It was accidentally caused by a blow torch used during construction, according to FDNY spokesperson Frank Dwyer.

“Together these events resulted in substantial completion being delayed by three to four months,” Royster said.

But plans are still on track to have the new academy’s first recruit class enter the new training digs by July 2014, law enforcement officials said.

The 700,000-square-foot building, in the project’s first phase, is projected to accommodate one tour of 1,640 recruits during their first six months of training, according to Inspector Terrence Riley of the NYPD.

In addition to classrooms and gyms, the new space for the city’s finest-to-be also includes a quarter-mile outdoor running track and a mock-up small city with banks, stores, apartments and streetscapes for simulated scenario-based training, Riley said.

The total 30-acre site is bordered by College Point Boulevard, 28th Avenue and Ulmer Street.

A new target date for the west campus is slated for March, while the east campus is expected to near completion in April, Royster said.

The delay was welcomed by Andrew Rocco, president of the College Point Civic and Taxpayers Association.

“Unfortunately, whether it opens tomorrow or three months from now, it’s going to create additional traffic regardless,” he said. “This should give the NYPD an extra three months to figure out how they’re going to support College Point.”

Rocco wants the city to extend Linden Place and fix the neighborhood roads, among other things on his wish list.

“They’re putting this citywide institution in our backyard,” he said. “We want to see some support from that, some visible police presence and support for local businesses.”

 

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Phase 1 of new police academy nearly complete


| mchan@queenscourier.com

Photo Courtesy the NYPD

The first phase of a master $656 million plan to construct a new police academy in College Point is well on track for substantial completion by next December, the NYPD said.

City recruits will not likely step foot into their new training digs until July 2014, but the two steel structures in the Phase 1 portion of the project — meant to house classrooms, administrative offices and gyms — have been erected and are close to being 100 percent constructed, according to Inspector Terrence Riley of the NYPD.

The 700,000-square-feet currently being developed in the project’s first phase, Riley said, will accommodate one tour of 1,640 recruits during their first six months of training. Among classrooms and gyms, the new space for the city’s finest-to-be will also include a quarter-mile outdoor running track and a mock-up small city with banks, stores, apartments and streetscapes for simulated scenario-based training.

Some 3,280 recruits a year will come in and out of the total 30 acre site — bordered by College Point Boulevard, 28th Avenue and Ulmer Street — once it is completed, but the full build has not been entirely designed or funded yet and will not be for a few years, Riley said.

“This is just the first piece of a master plan,” he said, adding that changing training needs, a shifting police force now consisting 30 percent of women, and the importance of consolidating training that is currently spread across the city led to the push for a new academy.

“Our firearms training is in the Bronx and our drivers training is in Brooklyn. So, we’re moving 2,000 to 3,000 recruits all around the city to get all their training over a six month period,” Riley said. “It just wasn’t efficient, so the decision was made to make really a substantial investment in a new police academy.”

But some College Point residents called that “substantial” multimillion dollar investment into question, saying the new academy will not directly decrease crime in the commercial area.

“I hear that figure and College Point doesn’t benefit from it,” said James Cervino, who said he and a growing group of locals have been calling for more police presence for years.

The recruits, Riley said, would be unarmed and half-trained and would not be walking the beat of College Point as a practice site during training. But 30 to 40 cops will be assigned to patrol the academy’s perimeters, Riley reassured, and the recruits will be expected to make arrests and call 9-1-1 if they spot a crime in progress.

“They are in the area and they are visible, which is better than now, which is nothing,” he said.

Riley also touted the 100 brand new positions that will open up for jobs maintaining the site’s power facilities. Instructors and staff, however, will be transferred over from the current police academy in Manhattan, he said.

Authorities are still working out issues revolving around the lack of parking spaces on site — only 900, which is not enough to cover one tour of recruits — and the estimated 80 trees chopped down around the academy’s perimeter without the NYPD’s knowledge.

Riley said the idea of shuttle buses, use of public transportation and carpool are being discussed and said the city’s Parks Department will replace the fallen trees with 120 new ones.