The New York Police Department long ago outgrew its 43-year-old police academy building on East 20th Street, says the New York Times. Mayor Michael Bloomberg says city is seeking a site for a new police academy that would consolidate far-flung firearms, classroom, and training grounds. Before a new academy is built, police and city officials have to figure out how to pay for it. When the present academy opened in 1964, classes were made up of 600 recruits, all of them men. Since January 2002, the academy has trained 14,372 recruits and officers. The training is divided into night and day shifts because they cannot all fit into the building at the same time. The formerly all-male locker room and its showers and bathroom have been crudely divided by drywall, plaster, and tile to accommodate women. The parking garage and dimly lit hallways double as storage space.
In 1992, Mayor David Dinkins unveiled a model for a $230 million academy in the South Bronx. Mayor Rudolph Giuliani pulled the financing in 1995 as part of citywide budget cuts. With the city's coffers swollen with a budget surplus of more than $2 billion, this could be an ideal time. The cost of building the new academy probably will exceed $1 billion. Recruits are now trained in three places, and spend much time shuttling between them. The academy's sorry state has drawn criticism from the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies, which assessed and accredited the department last year.