February 11, 2008
New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation Commissioner Carol Ash today announced that the agency will locate its new Park Police Academy and Training Facility at the former Camp Cass property in Rensselaerville, Albany County. Plans are currently underway to convert the Office of Children and Family Services training facility to a new State Park Police Academy starting in the fall of 2008. The plan will allow the State Park Police to establish a permanent location for its academy, which annually trains roughly 60 recruits during the 26-week residential session.
According to Ash, locating the Academy at the Camp Cass facility is smart move for many financial and practical reasons. According to estimates, the move would yield annual direct operational savings of $382,000, primarily in the areas of lodging and space rental, while creating a permanent single-site training location for classroom training, lodging and dining. The relocation is expected to pay for itself in less than three years.
"Camp Cass presents a unique and cost-effective opportunity to address the agency's longstanding need to secure a permanent park police training facility," said Ash. "This move will also establish a more efficient and centrally-located program that will improve operations and ensure continued professional training for our recruits."
Additional benefits of the new training academy include: the proximity to the agency's central office and Albany-area water and safety and emergency training operations; access to state-of-the-art training facilities; and greater efficiencies in the areas of staff time, transportation and planning. The site will also serve as year-round home to the park police internal affairs unit and record storage and, for the months the academy is not in session, will be used for employee meetings and training.
To facilitate the use of Camp Cass by the State Park Police, jurisdiction and management responsibility for the facility was transferred to the agency from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, which had jurisdiction over the property. Completion of the transfer will be followed by $500,000 in capital improvements at the facility, including rehabilitation in the dormitory, administrative and classroom areas.
The New York State Park Police provide essential police services consistent with the agency's mission to provide safe and enjoyable recreational opportunities for state residents and visitors. State Park Police patrol in marked police cars, four-wheel drive vehicles, all-terrain vehicles, bicycles, boats, personal water crafts, and in one region, horses, as well as on foot. In addition, State Park Police assist park users, make arrests, conduct criminal and non-criminal investigations and provide emergency services. State Park Police also provide special services including marine law enforcement and education duties on New York waterways, snowmobile enforcement and education and rope rescue teams. The force consists of nearly 280 men and women. For the past nine years, training academies were held at the SUNY Institute of Technology in Utica.
The New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation administers 178 parks, 35 state historic sites and 19 heritage areas. For more information about state parks and historic sites in New York, please visit www.nysparks.com.