County purchases of police academy from Essex County College

Photo Courtesy of Essex County
On Oct. 4, county officials announced that the county had purchased the Essex County Police Academy in Cedar Grove from Essex County College and had completed an extensive renovation of the facility.

CEDAR GROVE, NJ — Essex County Executive Joseph N. DiVincenzo Jr. announced that the county purchased the Essex County Police Academy in Cedar Grove from Essex County College on Friday, Oct. 4. Essex County purchased the academy complex for $6 million, which will be paid in three installments during the next three years.

“Today, the mantle of leadership of this facility is being passed to Essex County under the leadership of Joe DiVincenzo. I am confident it will continue to serve the residents of Essex County well,” Essex County College President Anthony Munroe said.

“The Essex County Police Academy is a vital resource for our law enforcement community that provides training and continuing education for police and corrections officers. Its continued operation is essential to helping prepare our future public safety community,” DiVincenzo said. “When Dr. Munroe approached me about the county re-acquiring the academy, I offered my total support. The academy is too important a resource to lose.”

“Public safety is our No. 1 concern, no matter in which community you live. Without public safety, nothing else happens. And by working in partnership with other local law enforcement agencies, it all will begin in this academy for our recruits,” Sheriff Armando Fontoura said.

“This institution is steeped in tradition and we are going to continue to build on that legacy,” Police Academy Director Anthony Perillo said.

Essex County took over the management of the police academy in January 2019 and it has been operated by the Essex County Department of Corrections. Essex County is partnering with the Sheriff’s Office, Newark Police Department and other law enforcement agencies in Essex to provide the staffing for the facility. In July, the first two classes under the supervision of Essex County Corrections were graduated from the academy: corrections officers on July 17 and police officers on July 25. Two more recruit classes are being held this fall.

After purchasing the property, Essex County renovated the building. The HVAC, electrical and lighting systems were updated, the gymnasium was upgraded, and restrooms and locker rooms were modernized.

In its fiscal exigency plan issued in 2018, Essex County College identified the police academy as not being self-sufficient. The plan recommended the facility be sold. In the 1990s, a previous county administration had sold the police academy to Essex County College to create a one-shot revenue item to help balance its budget.