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Police Corps looks at Y

March 07, 2001

Police Corps looks at Y



By JULIE E. GREENE

julieg@herald-mail.com

photo: KEVIN G. GILBERT / staff photographer

Mayor BrucheyThe Maryland Police Corps is considering moving into the YMCA building in downtown Hagerstown, officials said Tuesday.

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No decision has been made, but the downtown Hagerstown YMCA is the "direction (officials are) looking to go in," said Joe Sviatko, with the governor's Office of Crime Control and Prevention.

"They seemed enthused about the site," Sviatko said.

The YMCA is expected to move into a new $7.1 million facility on Eastern Boulevard in September, freeing up the YMCA downtown at 149 N. Potomac St., said YMCA Executive Director Mike Flicek.

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The question of future use of the downtown YMCA arose Tuesday morning during a question-and-answer session at the end of Mayor Robert E. Bruchey II's State of the City Address at the Ramada Inn and Convention Center.

The Maryland Police Corps, a police training program, is looking for a permanent home. It has been leasing space in Linthicum, Md., at the Maritime Institute, which provides training for the Merchant Marine, officials said.

The Hagerstown YMCA is not the only site under consideration, Sviatko said. He would not say what other sites are being considered or how many sites are under consideration.

Sviatko said there was no specific timetable or target date for the Police Corps to move.

"We seem to be the best fit right now," Hagerstown Police Chief Arthur Smith said after the one-hour State of the City presentation.

"The building has been kept in pretty good shape, but it does need some work," Smith said.

The Police Corps is looking for a residential and training facility that can house the trainees for 24 hours a day during the six-month program, Smith said.

In addition to gym facilities, the downtown YMCA has residential rooms to accommodate 62 people, Flicek said.

The new YMCA building will not have residential facilities.

The YMCA is working with the Community Action Council, REACH and Western Maryland Interfaith to find long-term housing for the approximately 50 people staying at the Y, Flicek said.

The Police Corps is a federal police training program with approximately 30 states participating, Smith said.

The Police Corps puts 30 to 40 recent college graduates through the six-month training program, reimbursing them for up to $30,000 each for their college educations in exchange for four years of service with their sponsoring police department, Smith said.

Hagerstown City Police employs seven Police Corps graduates on the city's streets and another graduate is an intern, Smith said.

"It's the best law enforcement training in the country," Smith said.

The sponsoring police department for each cadet gets the financial benefit of the U.S. Department of Justice paying the department a $10,000-a-year salary rebate for the four-year commitment, Smith said.

City officials are working with the Police Corps' sponsor to set up another tour of the building. The Police Corps' sponsorship is being transferred from the University of Maryland Baltimore County to the University of Maryland.

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