To the Editor:
Responding to “Hudson’s own police academy,” Hudson County is one of the most diverse and densely populated counties in the United States. Hudson County most definitely needs a police academy. However, it is also in need of a fire academy and training facilities for emergency medical providers. There are three legs in the public safety, life and property protection triangle; Police, Fire, and EMS. Each of these first responder organizations require access to and deserve a modern, high tech, cutting edge, professionally staffed and properly supported training facility.
Building an academy for law enforcement agencies is a good thing, actually a great thing. However building an academy that serves only one leg of the public safety triangle may not be the wisest or most cost effective way to go.
What is really needed is a Hudson County Police/Fire & EMS Academy. After 9/11 there was a push by some county, municipal and port authority entities to build a fire academy. My recommendation at that time was the same as the recommendation outlined in this letter.
The recommendation was/is to build a top flight facility that can serve the training and education needs of all 3 emergency response providers. To provide the highest level of emergency response every branch of the Hudson County public safety sector needs training, retraining, education, advanced education and the appropriate facilities to hone and enhance the response, rescue and emergency mitigation capabilities required to serve the residents of Hudson County along with the tens of thousands of people that transit through and visit.
Besides providing the highest and most professional levels of “routine” emergency response the police, fire and EMS operators of Hudson County have responded to every form of emergency from the 9/11 tragedy to the “Miracle on the Hudson.” The breadth and type of emergencies encountered by today’s first responders continues to expand exponentially and the public safety sector is always working to stay ahead of the curve. Let me describe a common “routine” emergency situation and follow up with a “crazy” question. When a vehicle accident occurs the police will be first on the scene, size up the situation, secure the scene, gather info, etc. If there is an injured party EMS will respond for triage, treatment and transport. If the accident resulted in the occupants being trapped, the fire department will respond to extricate the trapped victims.
Which of the first responder organizations would the victims of this incident want to be the best trained and supported? Crazy question, right? I applaud the “crazy” idea put forth by Mr. Vanieri and Mr. Romano but I guess I’m challenging them to take a look at an even crazier idea; to build a first rate, 21st century, consolidated academy and training facility that serve all Hudson County Public Safety providers.
Chief of Department
North Hudson Regional Fire & Rescue (Ret)