After a $2.5 million renovation, the former Hudson County Juvenile Detention Center in Secaucus is new the Public Safety Training Center, with officials cutting the ribbon this afternoon.
By John Heinis/Hudson County View
After certification from the State of New Jersey, the center is ready to welcome its first new class on January 15th.
A total of 35 police officer candidates from Bayonne, Jersey City, Harrison, and the county sheriff’s office will make up this class – a number may rise depending on COVID19-related restrictions.
“We’re excited to get to work and thankful for the support of County Executive DeGise, the Board of Commissioners, and our law enforcement leadership community in Hudson County,” said Center Director Mark Miller, a retired as a Jersey City Police Department deputy chief.
“We are looking forward to providing the kind of quality instruction and training that will ensure that our graduates are absolutely ready to face the challenges that await them as they go about their work protecting and serving our community.”
Miller served as both an in-service trainer and new recruit trainer while on the Jersey City force.
They will be trained by a permanent staff of five, supplemented by law enforcement training instructors from various law enforcement agencies and police departments in the county.
Additionally, the new training center will use facilities throughout Hudson County, including the North Bergen Police Department’s firing range for weapons training.
The County Executive touched on that in his remarks at the ribbon cutting this morning.
“This place was, for a long time, a place of punishment for kids who took a wrong turn,” Hudson County Executive Tom DeGise said this morning.
“But now I’m glad to say, that as we move away from that more punitive approach to criminal justice toward one focused on engaging our communities in the work of violence de-escalation, this Public Safety Training Center will be at the forefront of that work.”
In addition to saving on travel time and costs, a local, in-county public safety training center will allow Hudson County municipalities to cease paying other counties to train their police officer candidates.
While there is no set timetable, county officials anticipate that the center will grow in scope over time to allow the training of other public safety-related students in the future outside of law enforcement. For now, Director Miller made clear in his remarks that the first phase of the new Center’s operation will be an exciting one.
Others dignitaries in attendance included Board of Commissioners Chair Anthony Vainieri (D-8), Board Vice Chair Anthony Romano (D-8), Hudson County Sheriff Frank Schillari, Secaucus Mayor Michael Gonnelli, as well as representatives from the Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office, Jersey City Police Department, and North Bergen Police Department.