Roanoke County Joins City in Dedicating Criminal Justice Academy | Roanoke Star

An 8,400-square-foot addition to the Roanoke Police Academy just off Peters Creek Road is home to the new Roanoke County Criminal Justice Academy.

The county police department, the county Sheriff’s office, and the Western Virginia Regional Jail will train their employees and recruits side by side with Roanoke City police. General contractor Howard Shockey & Sons, Inc. broke ground last winter on the fast-track project. The facility will be paid for largely with federal and state asset forfeiture funds – the proceeds of assets taken from criminals that have been apprehended.

City and county officials sang the praises of the joint facility and regional cooperation. “We’re much stronger together than we are apart,” said Roanoke County Board of Supervisors chairman Joe McNamara. ”

Roanoke City vice mayor Dave Trinkle spoke on behalf of the city: “This venture is another example of teamwork between the city and Roanoke County. A true example of regionalism that will benefit all citizens.”

The academy will share instructors and “rely on each other’s expertise…to save taxpayer money…while allowing both academies to operate more efficiently,” Trinkle added. Officers in both jurisdictions will form positive relationships.

Roanoke County Administrator Tom Gates had his turn at the podium, saying he was struck by the “collaborative spirit that so clearly exists between the city and the county.” Gates said his past career stops had shown that wasn’t always the case between neighboring jurisdictions. “[It’s] truly extraordinary.” Turf wars that give way to “collegial relationships” lead to “great things,” said Gates, who came to Roanoke County from the City of Alexandria. “Having the experience of their shared training as police officers will undoubtedly pay dividends.”

Roanoke County police Chief Howard Hall looks forward to the new arrangement. The county had been training officers previously at the Public Safety Building on Cove Road, a facility not really designed for that function. “[Trainees] didn’t have a home,” noted Hall, who was struck several years ago [as he toured the area while applying for the chief’s position] that the current Roanoke City training academy location “made the most sense. It seemed like it probably [was] the right thing to do.”

Given the issues facing law enforcement today said Hall, “quality training” is a must. The first time Hall met Roanoke City police chief Chris Perkins they talked about a joint facility. Two and a half years later it is now open. “In government time that’s pretty much [warp] speed,” joked Hall. “It took a little work…but we got it done. This is an important addition to public safety in the Roanoke Valley.”

The Roanoke office of Howard Shockey & Sons, Inc. is building the project. The contractor is the same company that built the city’s existing academy, said Travis Hall, a project engineer with the company. CR Architects, the architect, partnered with Shockey on the original building also. The design-build project was procured through Virginia’s Public-Private Education Facilities and Infrastructure Act.

Source: Gene Marrano, The Roanoke Star

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