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New police academy smaller and costlier

In the decade since it was first announced, the vision for the academy and for the contribution of a private foundation set up to fund it have gotten smaller, and the total price tag and contribution of the taxpayer keep getting bigger.

A rendering of the new Nassau County Police

A rendering of the new Nassau County Police Academy, which will be located on the campus of Nassau Community College in Garden City, is seen during a news conference Monday. Photo Credit: Barry Sloan

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The dream of a new Nassau County Police Academy is 10 years old, but it was revitalized when County Executive Laura Curran announced it would be included in Nassau’s capital plan, which the county legislature began reviewing Monday.

In the decade since it was first announced, the vision for the academy and for the contribution of a private foundation set up to fund it have gotten smaller, and the total price tag and contribution of the taxpayer keep getting bigger.

In 2008, then-Nassau County Police Commissioner Lawrence Mulvey founded the Nassau County Police Foundation, which had a goal to raise $24 million for the construction of a 150,000-square-foot academy. Mulvey retired in 2011, and now lives in Travelers Rest, South Carolina, but the foundation and the dream have lived on.
In 2015, when then-County Executive Edward Mangano announced construction would soon begin, the planned facility had shrunk to 120,000 square feet, with a price of $40 million. The foundation would have kicked in $5 million, the county’s capital budget $10 million, and the police department’s asset forfeiture fund $25 million.
In the plan Curran announced Monday, the footprint is down to 90,000 square feet. The price, up to $54 million, would be funded by taxpayers, or at least that’s the dream of this capital plan.

County officials say the foundation already has contributed at least $3.4 million for environmental studies and architectural work.

Whether Nassau and Suffolk need separate academies is worth debating, but the trend makes it clear that if Nassau is going to build, it had better hurry. Wait another decade and there’s no telling how much smaller and more expensive this thing might become.

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