Strasburg Council OKs move to new Criminal Justice Academy

The Shenandoah Valley-Herald

STRASBURG — Town Council unanimously approved the town police department’s request to establish and join the Skyline Regional Criminal Justice Academy on March 20.

Council voted, 7-0, to approve a resolution establishing a board of directors, purpose and rules for the new academy, to go into effect on July 1.

Jocelyn Vena, Kim Bishop, John “Red” Hall, Don Le Vine, Shirley Maddox, Seth Newman and Scott Terndrup voted for approval. Barbara Plitt was absent.

The department’s 17 officers will join 14 other law enforcement agencies in the northern Valley as Skyline members, including RSW Regional Jail and Warren, Clarke, Rappahannock and Frederick counties’ sheriff’s offices.

The state Criminal Justice Services Board approved the academy’s creation in May. Once it opens, it will be the Virginia’s 11th regional criminal justice academy.

The northern Valley agencies had been members of the Rappahannock Regional Criminal Justice Academy, which is based in Fredericksburg. They trained at a satellite campus in Middletown that opened in 1999.

They decided to break away so that officers and deputies have a more convenient place to train, Strasburg Police Chief Tim Sutherly said.

“This will be closer and we’ll rent it ourselves rather than through a third party,” he said.

Construction began on an $8.3 million facility for the Skyline academy in Front Royal in November. It is set to open later this year.

Strasburg’s share of the Skyline facility’s rent will be the same as its current share in Middletown at $6,800 per year, or $400 per officer, Sutherly said.

Tommie Bower, assistant director of the Rappahannock academy, declined to comment on the resolution.

Vena said she and her peers trust Sutherly’s decision to join the new academy.

“We wouldn’t have made this decision without him making the suggestion,” she said.

The Valley’s other law enforcement agencies are members of the Central Shenandoah Criminal Justice Academy. It is headquartered in Weyers Cave and broke ground on a new northern campus in Mount Crawford in August.

Its 56 members include the police departments of Harrisonburg, Elkton, Broadway and Grottoes, the Rockingham County Sheriff’s Office and the Middle River Regional Jail in Staunton.

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