PHOTO: Mayor Bill de Blasio (c.) and Police Commissioner Bill Bratton (third from r.) on Tuesday helped cut the ceremonial ribbon on the highly anticipated NYPD academy in College Point. Photo Courtesy of NYPD
Mayor Bill de Blasio joined city Police Commissioner Bill Bratton and NYPD brass on Tuesday in College Point to cut the ribbon on the department’s gleaming, state-of-the-art academy.
The agency has moved its training home from Gramercy in Manhattan, where they have educated personnel since 1968, to an eight-story, 750,000 square-foot behemoth sitting on 32 acres at 28th Avenue and Ulmer Street.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Police Commissioner Ray Kelly broke ground on the $1 billion project in 2009, with several setbacks delaying the transition from Manhattan to the World’s Borough.
“As the Police Department has grown, so have the complexities of our mission,” Kelly said in December 2009. “The new Police Academy will serve as an instruction site for generations of police officers, traffic agents and school safety agents, and includes advanced technology to enhance the world-class training already being provided by the Department. New York City police officers have driven crime down year after year. They deserve a Police Academy equal to their accomplishments and dedication.”
De Blasio hailed the new structure as “literally the top of the line, the state of the art, the best of the best.”
“What an outstanding day. What a day filled with pride for this city and this police department,” the mayor noted as he delivered remarks on Tuesday. “So many people, for years, dreamed of a facility – the finest facility for training the finest police force in the world. So, it’s a day of pride, it is a day of joy, it is a day to be thankful for so many people who had this vision, who worked so hard on it, who finally get to see the fruits of their labor.”
The new headquarters features an 800-seat auditorium and mock-environment training rooms, including: a precinct station house, multi-family residence, grocery store, bank and even a subway platform with a partial train. The physical training building incorporates a custom-designed pool and five tactical training gyms, as well as a larger main gym with two full basketball courts encircled by a 1/8-mile running track.
“As I look above me at this magnificent structure, I’m reminded of a favorite movie – ‘Field of Dreams’ – and a line from that movie, ‘If you build it, they will come,’” Bratton beamed. “Well, the designers, the architects, all those in the construction trades that built this facility, we have come. We are here. We are here today to formally dedicate a building that has been in use for many months. We are dedicating a building that is, we believe, the finest municipal police training facility complex in the United States of America.”
The College Point academy boasts 500,000 more square feet of useable space compared to the Gramercy edifice.
“Building on the NYPD’s reputation as one of the most well-trained police departments in the world, this expansive facility can hosts upwards of 3,000 members of the NYPD daily – participating in recruit training, in-service training, and specialized skills enhancement training,” Bratton noted. “All the various components of our departments, civilian or sworn, will now have this new home in which to learn, in which to improve their skills, and in which to improve their ability to protect New York City.”
By Michael V. Cusenza