FRANKFORT, Ky. (Sept. 22, 2011) – Governor Steve Beshear today joined Justice Cabinet leaders and KSP officials to offer the first public glimpse of how a former prison is now functioning as a modern training facility for the Kentucky State Police.
“Thanks to efforts and initiatives over the past 3 1/2 years, we’ve reversed Kentucky’s inmate population trend, which allowed us to close a minimum security prison,” Gov. Beshear said. “That closure provided an innovative and ideal, if not somewhat ironic, opportunity: to convert the former prison into a desperately needed state-of-the-art training academy for our state police, at a tremendous cost savings to the taxpayers.”
The Frankfort Career Development Center, a minimum security prison that could house up to 205 inmates, closed this year because the number of those prisoners is shrinking, and the state needed fewer spaces for those inmates.
At the same time, plans for a new training academy for the Kentucky State Police had been on the books -- and at the top of the Justice Cabinet’s capitol budget requests -- for years. A new police academy was projected to cost nearly $34.7 million.
State police took control of the former Frankfort Career Development Center in July, once all remaining inmates were relocated to county jails, halfway houses and community supervision. Since then, state police cadets have held training exercises, classroom work and tactical lessons at the facility. The class will graduate in October.
“Police work is an ever-evolving field, and this initiative allows us to offer the highest caliber training to meet the needs of a modern police force,” Justice and Public Safety Secretary J. Michael Brown said.
The facility is well-suited for its new mission: The 45,000 total square-foot complex can house and feed 200 people, and includes ample classroom space, laundry facilities, meeting rooms and exercise areas. In contrast, the former state police academy lacked adequate space for classroom work and physical training, and wasn’t equipped with modern technology capabilities.
“The scope of this project will have greater implications on our agency than any other initiative for the past 50 years,” said KSP Commissioner Rodney Brewer. “It provides us with a platform for growth and expansion while planning for the challenges of future training.”
In 2010, KSP trained 1,064 troopers and officers, and 28 outside law enforcement officers at the local, state, and federal levels. State police calculate that because of space restrictions and the need to stagger trainings, the academy required 58 weeks per year to train its cadet class and hold all required in-service classes for active troopers – an obviously unsustainable schedule.
With the new training academy, however, much of the state police training is centralized; previously, the department outsourced several training requirements that are now incorporated into the facility.
In addition, the complex provides space for housing troopers for special events, such as the World Equestrian Games and other large scale, multi-day happenings, and will provide living quarters when troopers return for mandatory in-service training.
The property also has ample space to accommodate future development, as funds become available, resulting in a state-of-the-art training facility with low budgetary impact.