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May 11, 2004

CONTACT: Steve Tompkins
(617) 989-6650
cell: (617) 519-5500


CHELSEA—Suffolk County Sheriff Andrea J. Cabral officially opened the Department’s Correction Officer Training Facility today at 180 Crescent Ave., in Chelsea, joined by city and state officials.

"Training is the bedrock upon which this Department will continue to build an exceptional and professional workforce. By providing a dedicated building with a dedicated staff, we underscore the importance and priority we place on training and education on departmental policies and procedures," Sheriff Cabral said.

The COTA is the Department’s first off-campus facility dedicated solely for training. The 9,500-square-foot building was used as the former Chelsea Police Department’s interim headquarters before it was closed.

Joining Sheriff Cabral today in opening the building were Commissioner David Perini of the Division of Capital Asset Management, Chelsea City Manager Jay Ash, State Sen. Jarrett Barrios, State Representatives Kathi-Anne Reinstein and Eugene O’Flaherty, along with other city officials.

Under Sheriff Cabral, the Training Division has revamped its policies and implemented new training protocols that exceed standards set by the American Correctional Association. The Stern Commission, in its report released in October 2002, cited serious deficiencies in the training protocol under the former administration. Sheriff Cabral made improved training a top priority when she assumed command of the Department two months after the report was released.

New recruits now receive eight weeks of academy training prior to working in the units. Besides physical education, recruits are taught defensive tactics, policies and procedures, such as the use of force continuum, sexual harassment policies, general conduct, firearm safety and handling, CPR, suicide prevention, fire safety, evacuation plans, courtroom testimony, ethics and professionalism, inmate education, interpersonal communications, CORI and inmate rights and responsibilities.

The new facility allows for unencumbered training space. The building has a large tactics room, a mock unit with 12 working cells, classrooms, conference rooms and a lunch area.

"Having a replication of a prison unit with working cells provides invaluable experience for new recruits learning emergency response and teamwork," said Martin Michelman, Director of the Training Division.

The Department received some welcome assistance from the City of Chelsea and the Division of Capital Asset Management in securing and renovating the building. Slated for destruction, the 180 Crescent Ave. building was moments away from rubble before negotiations produced an agreement to keep the building standing.

Once Sheriff Cabral took possession, Department facilities Director Deborah Driscoll arranged for the retrofitting of the building to meet code. Under her direction, the building’s HVAC and electrical systems were repaired and upgraded. Following the four months of renovations, the Department awaited occupancy permits from the city and finally opened in February.

Now that the building is fully operational, training will continue to conduct 8-week academies for new recruits - the next beginning in June - and constant in-service training for veteran officers.

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