Stephens City Police Department gets OK for academy switch

STEPHENS CITY – The Stephens City Police Department received formal approval to be one of 14 law enforcement agencies parting with the Rappahannock Regional Criminal Justice Academy next year to form the Skyline Regional Criminal Justice Academy.

Town Council unanimously approved adopting a resolution that authorizes the switch at its July meeting on Tuesday evening. The decision came after Chief Charles Bockey Jr. explained how the new academy came into play and his department’s need for town approval.

“It’s just a fantastic opportunity that came to us,” he said after the meeting, crediting Warren County Sheriff and academy chair Daniel T. McEathron with spearheading the effort.

The Front Royal-Warren County Economic Development Authority announced in early March that it would be working on an $8 million new building for the academy with all funding provided by an anonymous investor. The 15,300-square-foot building would be located on an 18-acre plot in the Happy Creek Technology Park off of Progress Drive, with a 14,000-square-foot indoor firing range.

Skyline Regional Criminal Justice Academy received approval from the Virginia Department of Criminal Justice Services in May, and the 14 member law enforcement agencies will switch over from Rappahannock’s satellite academy in July 2017. The Middletown facility that houses that satellite agency would be appraised and sold.

Bockey said he serves alongside Rappahannock-Shenandoah-Warren Regional Jail Superintendent William Wilson, Clarke County Sheriff Anthony Roper and Assistant Director of the Rappahannock academy Tommie Bower on the new academy’s charter and bylaws committee. He said the charter was finished and adopted last month and the bylaws are still in progress to be in place when Skyline starts off next year.

“I’m looking forward to it,” he said.

At the meeting, council also unanimously approved the first reading of an ordinance to adopt a fire inspection fee schedule, and a second and final reading will follow at the regular August meeting.

Councilman Joseph Hollis posed a unanimously-approved motion to declare that $1,741.76 in accumulated real estate taxes and $29,434.31 in personal property taxes are unable to collect. Councilman Linden Fravel was absent from the meeting.

Contact staff writer Rachel Mahoney at 540-465-5137 ext. 164, or