From left to right, National Police Commissioner Yochanan Danino, President Reuven Rivlin, PM Benjamin Netanyahu, and Public Security Ministry Yitzhak Aharonovich at the opening of a police training school near Beit Shemesh .
(photo credit: COURTESY ISRAEL POLICE)
In an era when it has been beset by scandal and bad press, the Israel Police on Monday held the official opening of a colossal, NIS 2.9 billion academy they say will herald a new era of excellence and professionalism for the organization.
The 64,000-square-meter facility sprawls over 23 hectares outside Beit Shemesh, and according to police will consolidate 20 regional police training centers under a single roof.
The facility will include mockups of a nightclub, a courthouse, and a mall, for anti-terrorism units and regular patrol units, as well as a mock traffic circle to train in directing traffic. It will also have training grounds for canine units, bomb disposal police, and crime scene units, as well as nine shooting ranges.
The sprawling facility will have 1,050 beds and space for 1,800 officers to study at any given moment. It will also have food service capable of feeding 3,000 people, a track and field stadium and a 2,000-seat amphitheater.
Though police already began training at the facility in January, its official opening was held Monday, at an event attended by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, President Reuven Rivlin, Public Security Ministry Yitzhak Aharonovitch and Israel Police Insp.-Gen. Yohanan Danino.
At Monday’s ceremony, Rivlin said that Israel Police “are in a period of self-examination and housecleaning,” and added that he hopes that “at the end of this process the police will grow as a more just and clean organization.”
He also said he expects the new academy to serve as a base of training for the organization for the decades to come, and that the police who train there will help make the rest of Israeli society as a whole a safer and more just place to live.
The NIS 2.9b. facility will be funded through a public-private partnership between the state and the Policity Group, which won a tender to build the facility in 2011. NIS 700 million of the budget will go toward building the facility, while the other NIS 2.2b. is operating costs for Policity to run the facility for the next 22 years, including hiring and managing outside contractors brought in to train police. It is the first facility of its type in Israel to be run by a private organization.
Policity beat out runners-up Elbit Systems and Africa Israel, and according to police, applicants for the tender were graded 70 percent on their proposed price, and 30 percent on the “quality of the proposal.”
In a statement last week, the Israel Police said that the “vision of the school is for it to create a culture of excellence and professionalism for the Israel Police,” which they said will be realized through a higher standard of training.