HD63 - Funding of Regional Criminal Justice Training Academies

Executive Summary:
The Crime Commission conducted on-site surveys at each of the nine regional academies and a user satisfaction survey of all chiefs and sheriffs utilizing regional academies; compared state funding allocated for criminal justice training in Virginia to that provided in neighboring states; reviewed and updated information collected during the course of previous Crime Commission studies dealing with training issues; gathered and analyzed current funding and officer population data and considered future training requirements to conclude that the state funding provided to the regional academies is not adequate to meet present or anticipated future demands on the criminal justice training system. In addition, the Commission carefully examined the funding formula presently used to disperse funds to the regional academies and determined that it is not an effective means by which to provide adequate funding that addresses realistic training needs. As a result, the Commission made the following recommendation:

State funding should be increased by $1,002,563 in order to bring the total amount of state funding dispersed to the nine regional academies up to $2,127,971 from the current $1,125,408. The new total amount of state funding provided to the academies--$2,127,971--should be dispersed to the nine regional academies solely on the basis of officer population; thus, the current funding formula should no longer be used. In addition, an annual set-aside of $111,999 should be provided to the Department of Criminal Justice Services for distribution to the academies based on need.

The Commission considered alternative mechanisms to the state general fund for providing support to the· nine regional academies. The Commission examined several potential alternative sources that would provide adequate and consistent funding and found that an assessment on court fees would be the most appropriate. Consequently, the Commission made the following recommendation:

A $1.00 fee should be assessed on all convictions for traffic offenses, misdemeanors and felonies, and the proceeds--estimated at $2,263,136 annually--should be used to increase the state funding allocated to the nine regional criminal justice training academies.