Alfred State Police Academy employees working hard to properly train recruits

Alfred State Police Academy employees working hard to properly train recruits

Amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and the current tensions surrounding police officers, Alfred State Police Academy employees are working hard to ensure that their recruits are properly trained today to become successful, responsible officers tomorrow.

The first phase of the 2020 academy launched on May 12 and ended Aug. 6, with 15 recruits set to graduate. In this phase, recruits learned about the New York State Vehicle and Traffic Law, DWI detection, essential response to calls for service and investigative services, and much more.

So far, this year’s police academy has gone very well and has received a lot of positive feedback, according to Session Director and Chief of the University Police Department at Alfred State Scott Richardson.

“We address any feedback that we get, which allows us to make any changes that we feel will make our academy the elite academy in the area,” he said. “We do this by having every instructor evaluated by the recruits. Every instructor is evaluated, and each recruit is given an academy evaluation that asks the questions: “What went right?’ ‘What went wrong?’ What can we do to improve?’”

Wendy Dresser-Recktenwald, Alfred State’s chief of staff of Human Resources and the Center for Community Education and Training (CCET), said, “When we started the academy, we made a conscious decision to become the ‘academy of choice’ in our area. Our academy is known to be harder than other local academies and instructors who teach in other academies tell us the level of professionalism is instantly noticed as soon as they show on campus. We know we are hard and we know we have higher standards, and that is OK. We strive to be the best because we have a duty to put the most-well rounded officers out on the streets.”

Richardson noted that cultural diversity/bias-related crimes training is a key component of the police academy’s curriculum. He added that former Alfred State employee Dr. Mark Montgomery, who is now the chief diversity officer at SUNY Polytechnic Institute, spoke to the current class of recruits about diversity and bias-related crimes.

“We’ve also added duty to intercede training and intend to add fair and impartial policing training next year,” Richardson said.

As further evidence of the Alfred State Police Academy’s commitment to diversity training, the academy is hiring Dr. Melvin Chambliss as its chief diversity officer.

“We are pleased that Dr. Melvin Chambliss will be providing support to our academy and our cadets as they embark on their careers in a world where understanding and embracing diversity is so important,” Dresser-Recktenwald said. “If we expect our officers to understand what is going on in our world with race relations and law enforcement, we need to prioritize it in our academy.”

Continuing to grow and develop, the police academy also expanded its advisory board to now include Richardson as committee chair, Chief Kyle Amidon of the Canisteo Police Department as academy assistant director, Chief Tim O’Grady of the Wellsville Police Department, Chief Paul Griffith of the Alfred Police Department, Chief Chad Mullen of the Bath Police Department, Chief Pat Phelan of the Greece City Police Department, Sheriff Tom Dougherty of the Livingston County Sheriff’s Office, Undersheriff Kevin Monroe of the Allegany County Sheriff’s Department, Undersheriff John McNelis of the Steuben County Sheriff’s Department, Chambliss as the academy’s chief diversity officer, Okeena Gadsden of the New York State Department of Corrections as community liaison, Alfred State Vice President for Student Affairs Dr. Greg Sammons (ex officio), Dresser-Recktenwald (ex officio), and Alfred State Continuing Education Recruitment and Training Coordinator Tammy Edwards (ex officio).

Additionally, according to Dresser-Recktenwald, the Alfred State Police Academy is planning, in collaboration with the Hornell YMCA (pending COVID restrictions), to begin a comprehensive law enforcement physical fitness program for new recruits and current law enforcement officers in the next few months. Alfred State, she said, has been fortunate to have full support from State University of New York police and all of the local police departments.

“We feel strongly that we have an obligation to turn out a good product in our cadets, and the fact that all of our current recruits have a job is a testament to the good work our academy instructors are doing,” Dresser-Recktenwald said.

Another big change for the police academy this year is that organizers implemented numerous health and safety procedures to guard against infection and transmission of COVID-19. These include temperature checks, creation of a COVID visitor’s form, issuance of hand sanitizer and necessary supplies to recruits, and wearing masks in situations that required social distancing.

Phase two of the Alfred State Police Academy, which covers qualification courses, began on Aug. 10 and will continue through Sept. 4. In order to attend phase two, recruits must be hired by a police agency. After completing this phase, these officers will return to their agency and must complete a minimum of 160 hours of field training.

Police academy organizers are already gearing up for the third session, which is set to launch next spring. For more information on Alfred State’s Police Academy, contact CCET at 607-587-4015 or CCET@alfredstate.edu.

2020 recruits of Alfred State College’s Police Academy standing in front of a vehicle, all wearing tan pants and a black shirt
Pictured are the 2020 recruits of Alfred State College’s Police Academy. In the front row, from left to
right, are Michael Harrington (Bolivar Police Department), Isaac Rodriguez (SUNY Geneseo Police),
Chloe Wormsley (Greece Police Department), and Brian Harrison (Steuben County Sheriff’s Office).
In the second row, from left to right, are Michael Ruggles (Bath Police Department), Brandon Terry
(Wayland Police Department), Joshua Clementi (Greece Police Department), Tyler Crouch (Bath
Police Department), Tyler Congdon (Mount Morris Police Department), Gage Harrison (Hornell Police
Department), Emily Waite (Allegany County Sheriff’s Office), Andrew Merring (Hornell Police
Department), Steven Brongo (Greece Police Department), and Austin Plank (Alfred Police
Department). Not pictured is Cole Young.