As the first phase of the inaugural Alfred State Police Academy winds down, organizers are reflecting on the success of the program, while also looking forward to its future.
Wendy Dresser-Recktenwald, Alfred State’s chief of staff of Human Resources and the Center for Community Education and Training (CCET), said the program was started with the goal of operating an academically rigorous academy that would prove to be an “academy of choice” for local and statewide recruits.
“We focused our efforts on both technical and soft skills and looked specifically for cadets with emotional intelligence,” she said. “Working in law enforcement in today’s world is hard. The hours are long, the public is difficult on law enforcement officers, and they need to be proficient with both technical skills and the ability to communicate.”
Dresser-Recktenwald noted that Session Director Scott Richardson “worked hard and stacked our academy with a great group of trainers from law enforcement agencies all over western New York.” These include the Steuben County Sheriff’s Office, the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), the Hornell City Police Department, the Hornell Fire Department, the Cuba Police Department, the Wayland Police Department, the Cattaraugus County Sheriff’s Office, the Canisteo Police Department, the Wellsville Police Department, the Alfred Police Department, Retired State Trooper Walt Mackney, the Allegany County Sheriff’s Department, and Alfred State staff members within the University Police Department, the criminal justice programs, and Health and Wellness Services.
Additionally, SUNY Cortland donated a police car to the academy. The vehicle had been taken out of service and will be utilized for vehicle pullover training, as well as the Emergency Vehicle Operation Course (EVOC).
“It is the support we received from outside law enforcement that has really helped to build this program,” Dresser-Recktenwald said. “We want more than a police academy; we want to be a resource for law enforcement training and to be the training site of choice for western New York law enforcement.”
The first phase of the Alfred State Police Academy officially launched in May. Over the past two months, 18 recruits have learned a great deal about law enforcement, from conducting various types of investigations, to vehicle stops and traffic enforcement, to dealing with crimes in progress, and much more.
Richardson said he is very pleased with how well the academy has been going.
“I have been hearing very positive comments from both the law enforcement community and the civilian community,” he said. “I believe the success of the academy is a result of the tremendous support that we have received from everyone involved, including Alfred State College, local police chiefs, county sheriffs, and NYS DEC for allowing their officers and deputies to instruct our recruits. I am very excited about the direction we are going in to make Alfred State College a quality police academy and law enforcement training center.”
Dr. Greg Sammons, vice president for Student Affairs, said Alfred State set the bar high in order to provide high-quality law enforcement training.
“The police academy, under the leadership of Session Director Scott Richardson, has exceeded our already-high expectations. In speaking with several police chiefs, some are already planning to make the Alfred State Police Academy their training location of choice moving forward,” Sammons said. “As absolutely pleased as I am, we will always commit to identifying ways to make our academy even stronger with each new session and class. This begins soon with our Phase Two of the basic academy that starts in one month.”
Specifically, the second phase of the police academy will begin Aug. 12. Also in August, Alfred State Police Academy representatives will be on site at the Steuben County Fair in Bath to answer any questions about the academy. The fair runs from Aug. 13- 18.
Looking further into the future, Dresser-Recktenwald said Alfred State expects a high-volume enrollment for the 2020 academy. She encourages all prospective recruits to begin preparing now, especially physically.
“We encourage our recruits who may be thinking about our academy to get their paper work in and to start getting in physical shape now,” she said. “Physical fitness seems to be the biggest obstacle for recruits, even when they are told from the start to get in shape. This is a real academy, and if they can’t pass the physical fitness, they are not able to get through the program, and there are no exceptions.”
Those interested in learning more about the Alfred State Police Academy should contact CCET at 607-587-4015 or CCET@alfredstate.edu.