Top officials within the state’s court system unveiled a new facility in Brooklyn on Monday to train state court officers.
Chief Judge Janet DiFiore and Chief Administrative Judge Lawrence Marks inaugurated the facility, which is dedicated to three state court officers who died during rescue efforts following the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
The Captain William Thompson, Sergeant Thomas Jurgens and Sergeant Mitchel Wallace Court Officers Academy sits on the former site of St. Theresa School in Crown Heights. It’s expected to serve as the primary training center for approximately 4,000 state court officers.
The facility will contain five new classrooms, a conference room, offices and a multipurpose gym. Trainees will go through four months of basic training on such topics as criminal law, civil law, family law, constitutional law and arrest procedures. They are also trained to use weapons, including batons, pepper spray and firearms.
DiFiore said in a statement that she was proud to dedicate the facility to the three fallen court officers.
Chief Judge Janet DiFiore, court officials and family members of three court officers who died on Sept. 11, 2001, gather at the unveiling of a plaque in their memory at the new Court Officers Academy in Brooklyn. (Photo: David Handschuh/ALM)
“We now have a customized facility that will enable our team of top-notch instructors to pursue and instill excellence in our court officers through a broad range of training activities,” DiFiore said. “I am thankful to all those whose commitment made this landmark day possible.”
Marks echoed those thoughts in his own statement.
“This fully equipped facility, designed to accommodate the comprehensive, evolving training needs of the New York Courts’ uniformed officer corps, is a fitting tribute to the deep level of commitment and professionalism demonstrated by these three extraordinary individuals to whom we owe so much,” Marks said.
Citing safety concerns in some of the state’s courthouses. union leaders have been calling for the new facility for some time. Patrick Cullen, president of the New York State Supreme Court Officers Association and Dennis Quirk, president of the New York State Court Officers Association, celebrated the new facility in a statement on Monday.
“While we believe this training facility should have been completed years ago, we are glad it is finally open so we can now begin to train the hundreds of new officers who are desperately needed to maintain optimal levels of security in our courts, which has been our mission from day one,” Cullen and Quirk said.
The facility at 541 St. Johns Place replaces an outdated building in Manhattan. The court system has a smaller training facility outside Albany.