Nassau County officials express support for new police academy

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Nassau Community College could become home to a $54 million police academy for the Nassau County Police Department. (Photo rendering by Spector Group)
Nassau Community College could become home to a $54 million police academy for the Nassau County Police Department. (Photo rendering by Spector Group)

Nassau County officials announced plans to build a new police academy on the Nassau Community College campus in Garden City on Monday, which could mark a considerable upgrade from their facility in Massapequa Park.

Currently, the police department leases space at what used to be Hawthorne Elementary School in Massapequa Park on the South Shore.

“$700,000 a year in rent,” the Nassau County Police Department’s Facebook account commented on a post. “It’s an elementary school.”

The new facility for the police was initially proposed in 2015 for Nassau Community College as a 120,000-square foot facility that would feature a new training academy, intelligence operations, an auditorium, classrooms and other features. It came with a $40 million price tag at the time.

Now the facility, designed by Woodbury-based Spector Group, would be 90,000-square feet and cost around $54 million, Newsday reported.

“What we need is a cutting-edge and an advanced training facility … We need to have a facility that represents the excellence of this department and allows us to keep up with rapidly changing advances in crime-fighting,” Nassau County Executive Laura Curran said at a news conference.

Presiding Officer Richard Nicolello (R-New Hyde Park), who represents the Plandomes, Willistons, Mineola and New Hyde Park, told Newsday the county Legislature will likely fund the capital project.

The project also appears likely to receive Democratic support.

“The police academy project is one that appears to be worthy of our support,” Minority Leader Kevan Abrahams said in a statement, “We are working hard to finalize a comprehensive 2018 capital plan that will encompass this and other worthy projects that will improve the quality of life for all of our residents.”

In addition to serving as the training ground for future Nassau County Police Department officers, the facility would also be used for students on the college campus.

“Not only will generations of new police officers receive their training at this site, but the Nassau Community College will have hands-on learning opportunities within the state of the art facility,” W. Hubert Keen, the president of NCC, said in a statement. “This new training facility will be an asset for both the residents of Nassau County and for the students of Nassau Community College as well.”

Kate Murray, the vice president of institutional advancement at Nassau Community College and former Town of Hempstead supervisor, said criminal science students could see “state of the art investigative technology” and theory “in action.”

Additionally, she said, it’s possible their nursing and allied health students could “have some interaction with forensic science techniques” and theories, which in turn would have “relevance for our science students.”

“The imagination wanders to many academic areas,” Murray said.

An exact timeline for the project is unclear.

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