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Construction begins on new Nassau County police academy

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The Nassau County Police Department will be seeing its own training facility and counterterrorism unit for the first time since 1982.

Nassau County Executive Laura Curran joined with Police Commissioner Patrick Ryder and other officials on May 29 to break ground on the Nassau County Training and Intelligence Center. The 89,000-square-foot facility on the Nassau Community College campus in Garden City is expected to be complete in mid-2021.

“From my very first day as County Executive, I have been pushing to get this academy built,” Curran said. “Since 1982, the brave men and women of our Police Department have been shuffled through temporary facilities instead of working out of a real police academy and breaking the bank for our taxpayers.”

For the past 37 years, the NCPD has paid an annual $700,000 rent to be housed at Hawthorne Elementary School in Massapequa Park, in addition to overflow spaces in trailers that Curran described as “broken-down messes.”

The new building will provide police, correction officer and probation officer training and community engagement, serving as “a model for shared services,” Curran said.

The creation of a training center has been over ten years in the making as, in 2008, then-Police Commissioner Lawrence Mulvey formed the Nassau County Police Department Foundation to garner the necessary public and private sector donations — accruing $3.9 million in services toward its funding.

In 2009, the Nassau Community College signed a memorandum of understanding with the county. The project was pushed forward earlier this year when the Legislature unanimously approved the capital budget and $54 million bonding needed to complete the facility.

Curran added that the county hired an Integrity monitor to assist in the training center’s construction with contractor E&A Construction, Inc. and its subcontractors.

“For too many years the members of our department endured makeshift inadequate training facilities in the departments quest for excellence,” said Police Commissioner Ryder. “Soon we will have a state-of-the-art training facility and intelligence center that will focus on providing the best available training and technology to both sworn and civilian members of not only our department, but to all law enforcement associated agencies.”

Curran noted that the academy would also benefit criminal justice students at Nassau Community College who will have the opportunity to learn from the instructors training incoming NCPD officers — in addition to recruitment on graduation.

To Ryder, this means giving a voice to the diverse student body at NCC by bringing them into the NCPD system “so they could learn that the police department is on their side,” he said.

The groundbreaking also took place on the anniversary of the death of Michael Kavanagh, a county patrolmen was struck and killed by the vehicle of someone trying to avoid the police. Since then, Ryder said, 40 police officers have died in the line of duty. “This academy will be a tribute to them, to the sacrifices they made,” Ryder said.