NYC Dept. of Correction postpones tiny academy class days before start of training

Correction Commissioner Lynelle Maginley-Liddie has abruptly postponed the latest Correction Academy class just as it was poised to starting training on Feb. 15 because it only had roughly 40 recruits, the Daily News has learned.

Sources familiar with the move said space was already arranged at the Police Academy for the new class, but the small number of recruits led to the unspecified delay.

Correction Department spokesman Frank Dwyer confirmed the class was postponed but wouldn’t reveal the number of initial recruits. “It was pushed back a few weeks to process more candidates,” he said.

“Class is set for March. When the dates are set, we will let you know.”

The Correction Department has invested millions in its recruiting campaigns in recent years, eliminated the college requirement and slashed the length of training, but has had continuing trouble luring new officers.

New York City Department of Correction officer Ezell Harris at Rikers Island's George R. Vierno Center on Thursday, February 23, 2017 in Queens, N.Y. (James Keivom/New York Daily News)
(James Keivom/New York Daily News)

The department’s image has been buffeted by relentless outside criticism from advocates, bad press and unflattering oversight reports from the federal monitor appointed to track violence and uses of force in the jails.

A class that completed training in May 2023 had just 81 recruits, The News previously reported.

The 2022 class had 230 members after there were no classes in 2020 and 2021 because of the pandemic, The News reported. The class of 2019 had 382 recruits.

Classes from 2015 through 2018 each had more than 1,000 members, The News reported.

The move amounts to somewhat of a first public setback for Maginley-Liddie, who was appointed Dec. 8 to replace Louis Molina after he moved into an undefined role at City Hall under Deputy Mayor for Public Safety Philip Banks.

“The new commissioner has not made recruitment a priority and human resources dropped the ball in processing candidates,” said a source with knowledge of the move.

The department recently launched a new recruiting drive with the slogan, “Join. Discover. Wanna Serve with a purpose? Take the test.”

The campaign comes with a promotional booklet that plays an electronic jingle of the slogan when opened.

A woman who received the promotional package quipped on social media, “This is what our tax dollars are going to.”

@_isthatjoyyyyyyyyyyyyyy

Eric Adams fr?? And there’s no money in the budget for teachers????😂 #_isthatjoyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy#nyc#nyclife#newyork

♬ original sound – JOY.com

A prior campaign in May 2023 described the position as the “toughest, most rewarding career in law enforcement.”

A spokesman for the Correction Officers union didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

It was unclear whether the postponement had anything to do with the recent budget cuts experienced throughout city agencies.

In November, the Adams administration said it was necessary to cut up to five Police Academy classes.

On Jan. 10, Mayor Adams restored the NYPD class expected to begin training in April.

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