Contact: Janine Kava, Press Office
(518) 457-8828 or (518) 275-5508 – cell
janine.kava@dcjs.ny.gov
www.criminaljustice.ny.gov
For immediate release: Wednesday, March 19, 2008


Enhancing police officers’ safety, saving officers’ lives
DCJS awards 10 grants to law enforcement academies for force-on-force training; firearms and defensive tactics instructors
to receive training next month in Oriskany

With the exception of 2001 – when 239 law enforcement officers died, 72 as a result of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks – last year was the deadliest in nearly two decades for law enforcement.

Nationwide, according to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, 186 officers died in the line of duty in 2007, compared to 144 in 2006. Of those, 69 were shot to death, a 33 percent increase over 2006. And in New York State, 12 law enforcement officers were killed, five more than in 2006, according to the fund (www.nleomf.org).

In an effort to turn the tide on this deadly trend, the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS) has awarded $150,000 in grants to 10 law enforcement academies throughout the state to enhance their force-on-force training.

“Recently, New York State added two new panels to its Police Officer Memorial in Albany, which honors those brave men and women who have died in the line of duty,” said DCJS Commissioner  Denise E. O’Donnell, who also serves as assistant secretary to the governor for criminal justice. “It is my hope that by providing these grants to offer this critically important training, police officers throughout the state will be better equipped to survive the dangers they encounter on the job.”

The following law enforcement academies received grants: the Broome County Law Enforcement Academy in Binghamton; the Buffalo Police Academy; the Chautauqua County Sheriff’s Academy in Jamestown; the David Sullivan Law Enforcement Academy in Canton; the Plattsburgh Police Academy; the Police Chiefs’ Association of Orange County Police Academy in New Windsor; the Southern Tier Law Enforcement Academy in Corning; the Ulster County Sheriff’s Academy in Kingston; the Westchester County Department of Public Safety Police Academy in Valhalla; and the Zone 5 Law Enforcement Academy in Schenectady.

Each academy received $15,000 to purchase equipment and provide instructors with reality-based training, which is designed to enhance officers’ decision-making skills, reaction and response times, all with the ultimate goal of increasing their odds of survival during a high-risk situation.

Firearms and defensive tactics instructors from each academy will attend a week-long training next month (April 21 through 25) at the New York State Preparedness Training Center in Oriskany. Those instructors then will share their knowledge by training police agencies across the state through their respective academies.

The training covers all aspects of a real force-on-force situation, from the psychological to the physical; simulated weapons that act and feel like the firearms officers use every day will be used during the training. Also, instructors will learn how to develop training scenarios that are based on situations that officers are likely to encounter on the job, in their communities.

The grants were funded by the Byrne Justice Assistance Grant program, a federal program that was slashed by 67 percent nationally in December, when President Bush signed an omnibus appropriations bill. New York State stands to lose $17 million this year, and Commissioner O’Donnell has urged Congress to restore this critical funding, which supports hundreds of local programs – including multi-jurisdictional drug and gang task forces, substance abuse prevention and treatment programs, offender re-entry and juvenile justice programs – that have contributed to New York State’s historic reductions in crime.

The New York State Sheriffs’ Association and the New York State Association of Chiefs of Police support this training initiative, which is being coordinated by the Office of Public Safety at DCJS. The office provides standardized training and support to law enforcement, administers the Law Enforcement Accreditation Program and operates an equipment repair center, where law enforcement agencies can bring their speed and alcohol detection instruments for repair and calibration.

The force-on-force program augments “Officer Survival – Preparing for Armed Encounters” training that DCJS has offered since 2006. To date, approximately 1,000 officers throughout the state have taken that course. It also is designed to complement other training officers may receive, including firearms, defensive tactics instruction and simulation training systems.

The New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services is a multi-function criminal justice support agency with a variety of responsibilities, including collection and analysis of statewide crime data; operation of the DNA databank and criminal fingerprint files; administration of federal and state criminal justice funds; support of criminal justice-related agencies across the state; and administration of the state’s Sex Offender Registry and a toll-free telephone number (1-800-262-3257) that allows anyone to research the status of an offender.