NEWARK, NJ - The director of Essex County College's (ECC) police academy announced today that he was placed on administrative leave, possibly signaling a sale of the training grounds.

“After serving as the Academy Director for the past 14 years, I have been placed on ‘administrative leave’ until the end of 2018,”  ECC Public Safety Academy Director Rocco Miscia wrote on the agency's Facebook page. “It seems Essex County College is in negotiations with the County to sell the Academy and that I’m not part of the plan moving forward.”

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Miscia confirmed he wrote the post. His name was removed from the academy’s website, and a new interim director, Lori Apicelli, was listed instead. She did not respond to a request for comment. 

The college has been stripping the academy of its top administrators in recent months, cutting the associate director position. In turn, the New Jersey Police Training Commission - which handles certification of basic training courses for police - limited the academy to just one class, Miscia previously told TAPinto Newark. 

That class is set to graduate in December and the academy was due for its three-year recertification next year. The training grounds, located in Cedar Grove, has trained police recruits from all over New Jersey for about 20 years.

ECC spokesman Wayne Yourstone said the college does not comment on personnel matters and did not elaborate on Miscia’s position when asked if and why he was put on administrative leave.

“All decisions about ongoing operations at the Academy rest with the President of the College and Board of Trustees,” Yourstone wrote in a statement. “Currently, the College is considering options concerning ongoing operations at the Academy and has no further comment at this time.”

The college's institutional resources came under scrutiny about two years ago by Middle States Commission on Higher Education. In June, the college was taken off probation since its resources were found to be in compliance with the accrediting agency's standards.

The City of Newark has sent police recruits to the college’s academy in the past. After the limitations set by the New Jersey Police Training Commission though, the city sent its most recent class to the New Jersey State Police Academy in Sea Girt this past August.

Newark is also planning to open its own police and fire training complex at the site of the former William H. Brown Academy in the South Ward. The project is expected to save the city money by conducting training in-house, officials at the facility's unveiling previously said.

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