(photo credit: ISRAEL POLICE)
A sprawling state-of-the-art national police academy that took three years and NIS 2 billion to build was unveiled in Beit Shemesh Thursday in ceremony attended by hundreds of high-ranking police officers, the chief of police and public security minister.
Police Chief Insp.-Gen. Yohanan Danino described the academy, which sits on 23 hectares (54 acres), can house 1,000 cadets and features multiple classrooms, a fire-arms training facility, Olympic-sized swimming pool, football field, track and a world-class physical-education center, as a “dream come true.”
“This vision took more than two decades of planning,” Danino said in the academy’s auditorium at the official ceremony. “It is a vision that has a historical dimension and strategic importance to the Israeli Police.”
He continued: “Construction of this impressive facility was made possible by the shared vision of a number of factors – the police, Department of Homeland Security, other government agencies, and civilian elements – and I see the establishment of the academy as a springboard to promote the capabilities and objectives of the Israeli police.”
Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch also lauded the academy as a comprehensive facility aligned with his vision for the police.
“I am confident that this academy will serve as significant leverage in developing the police, the region as a whole and the city of Beit Shemesh, in particular.”
Beit Shemesh Mayor Moshe Abutbul called the academy as a “present” to his city.
“This is one of the happiest days for Beit Shemesh because this is a place of work for the citizens, a place they can visit and the arnona [taxes] will create a lot of funding for the city and residents,” said a smiling Abutbul.
“The police can come to speak to our children at their schools, and they can visit them, so it’s a great cooperation that will make Beit Shemesh better.”
Moshe Lahmani, chairman of Shikun & Binui, which built and will operate the campus, said Israel should be proud that its police are getting such an advanced facility.
“I think the police deserve such a state-of-the-art academy, which this is, even in world terms,” he said.
Micky Adiv, CEO of G4S Israel – a subsidiary of the world’s largest security company, which helped construct the campus and will help operate it – called the academy “a superb achievement.”
“Undoubtedly, this exceeds the wildest expectations of everyone involved in this project, and I think it’s unique because all the stakeholders – the public security ministry, police, builder and ourselves – created one goal that everyone believed in: to get this place working by January 1,” he said, adding that it was fully operational three months before.