The Camden County Police Academy, which was in danger of closing because the county didn't have enough money to continue operating it, will remain open after all, county officials announced Monday.
The academy, located at Camden County College's Blackwood campus in Gloucester Township, will operate under a shared-services agreement between the county prosecutor's office and the college.
“It was important to find a way to keep the police academy functioning,” said Freeholder Ian K. Leonard, liaison to the college. “Working together, County government, the Prosecutor’s Office and the College came up with the perfect solution."
Under the agreement, the college will assume the cost of academy Director Earl Coxson’s annual salary of about $60,000. This is in addition to the $35,000 the college contributes to the academy annually, money generally used for supplies and resources.
The prosecutor’s office will continue to assign an investigator and a clerical employee to staff the academy, county officials said in a news release.
The agreement is scheduled to take effect July 1; the academy will not accept new recruits until January 2012. The academy will continue to offer in-service courses for active law enforcement officers through 2011.
“The college has a long history of working with the prosecutor’s office and county police chiefs to prepare cadets, officers employed by local agencies and other law enforcement and corrections personnel for the various duties of their roles,” said college President Raymond Yannuzzi. “CCC looks forward to continuing to fulfill this very important part of its mission and continuing to offer the fine quality of training established by the county.”
Coxson was an agent with the county prosecutor’s office until budget cuts this year forced the office to eliminate his position. That layoff would have likely caused the academy, which opened in 1988,to close, county officials said.
“The Academy is a critical training resource for the county’s police agencies,” said Freeholder Rodney Greco, liaison to the County’s Public Safety Department. “Closing it would have forced the county’s 37 municipalities to send their recruits and serving officers to training at a neighboring academy at an increased expense.”
The academy offers a $100 discount for each recruit sent by a department in Camden County. The academy also offers free courses for active officers.
The typical cost for an in-county department to send a recruit to the required 24 weeks of training is $600, not including the costs of books, uniforms, insurance and equipment.
“We are very excited about the continued strong local partnership with county government, the county college and the prosecutor’s office in order to promote continued professionalism among our police officers through teaching and training,” said Barrington Police Chief Joe Eisenhart, who is also first vice president of the Camden County Police Chiefs Association. “As a police chief, adjunct faculty member at the College and police instructor at the academy, this is the perfect solution to preserve our high level of performance."