State board approves new criminal justice academy

The Warren County Sheriff’s Office reported on Friday that the state’s Criminal Justice Services Board has approved the new Skyline Regional Criminal Justice Academy.

The academy will consist of 14 law enforcement agencies with 731 officers, including those in Clarke, Frederick and Warren counties and the City of Winchester. Many of those agencies have been part of the Middletown satellite facility of the Rappahannock Regional Criminal Justice Academy since 1999.

Warren County Sheriff Daniel T. McEathron said he met with the Virginia Department of Criminal Justice Services’ board in Richmond on Thursday and heard comments about the proposed academy. Since he had already submitted documents about the academy, he said the board had few questions.

“We got a lot of good feedback,” he said. “They were very receptive and welcomed us as the 11th regional academy in the Commonwealth.”

McEathron said that 2015 reports listed Rappahannock as the largest regional academy in Virginia with more than 2,800 members. The same report lists that two academies had under 1,000 members: Piedmont Regional Criminal Justice Training Academy had just over 730 members and New River Criminal Justice Training Academy had just over 700 members.

Like the other regional criminal justice academies, McEathron said the new Skyline academy will receive state funding in accordance with its number of members. He said establishment of the Skyline academy will have no fiscal impact on the Rappahannock academy. The Skyline academy will have its own director, board and committees that have yet to be decided on by the member agencies.

“We’re going through some of those decisions now,” he said.

McEathron said member agencies of the new academy will spend the next year establishing its policy, bylaws and other foundations using other academies as blueprints. He said the Skyline academy would begin drawing up its own budget by October in preparation of the start of the 2017-2018 fiscal year – and the formal establishment of the academy – in July.

“We’ve had a great relationship with Rappahannock Regional Criminal Justice Academy, there’s no reason for us to leave any earlier than that,” he said. “We’re going to work another fiscal year with Rappahannock and they’ve been very cooperative in assisting us.”

In early March, the Front Royal-Warren County Economic Development Authority announced that it would be working with a private investor on an $8 million new training academy building at Happy Creek Technology Park. The academy would be 15,300 square feet with a 14,000 square foot indoor firing range on an 18-acre plot at the end of Progress Drive.

Contact staff writer Rachel Mahoney at 540-465-5137 ext. 164, or rmahoney@nvdaily.com