New Bedford police union slams ‘under par’ training academy
The roof is leaking. Ceiling tiles are missing. The floor is worn and torn. Such are the conditions at the New Bedford Police Training Academy in the former New Bedford Institute of Technology (NBIT) building at 1204 Purchase Street in New Bedford.
After showing me around the facility, New Bedford Police Union President Chris Cotter called the conditions “sub-par.”
“These classrooms are in a state where most people wouldn’t allow their pets to walk,” Cotter said.
New Bedford Institute of Technology was merged with Bradford Durfee College of Technology (BCDT) in Fall River by an act of the Massachusetts Legislature in 1960 to form the Southeastern Massachusetts Technology Institute (SMTI). SMTI then morphed into Southeastern Massachusetts University (SMU) and eventually UMass Dartmouth, now located in Dartmouth.
It’s an interesting story, and I’m only highlighting it to give you an idea of the age of the Purchase Street training facility.
The training academy is used as a classroom space where hands-on CPR and first aid training is taught, among other things. There is also a computer lab. The building also houses the offices of New Bedford Fire Prevention.
Cotter said the union has been asking for money for years to upgrade the training academy, but said the Mitchell administration insists the situation is temporary as it plans to demolish the building.
Cotter said the administration’s refusal to upgrade the facility is “a continuing slap in the face to the men and women of the New Bedford Police Department who are continually treated as if they have no importance”.
“The Zeiterion Theater is receiving an additional $5 million in funding when those who have worked day in and day out during the COVID crisis can sit in for five days (for annual training) in what is most likely an environment filled with asbestos,” Cotter said.
I sent several emails to Mayor Jon Mitchell’s office seeking comment on the union’s complaints, but at the time of publication of this article, I have received no response. If the administration submits a response, we will include it here.
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