ITHACA, N.Y.–– Last week the Ithaca Voice released the major findings of the 2020 year-end crime report crafted and released by Chief Dennis Nayor. In addition to a jump in certain crimes, and a lower arrest rate, the report also shows an increase in training for the department. 

According to the report, the Ithaca Police Department spent 9,787 hours in training in 2020, an overall increase of 31.3% from 2019. Most of the increase in hours were in leadership, professional development, in-service training, and a new category, mutual aid. Mutual aid covered 96 hours of city hall active killer training for 6 officers and 80 hours of emergency vehicle operation for one officer. 

Chief Nayor said that because the annual report isn’t identical from year to year new categories of training are not all that uncommon. He did say, however, that a new focus on assisting other agencies prompted the creation of the new category of mutual aid. 

In-service training hours were almost half of the total 2020 officer training hours and up 78.3% from 2019. This training involves taser and firearm review, structure clearing, SWAT, K9, Crisis Negotiations Team, and LGBTQ training among other things. In addition, IPD leadership appointed two police officers, Sergeant Mary Orsaio and Officer Caprice VanAuken, LGBTQ liaisons in 2020 in order “to strengthen the relationship between the LGBTQ community and the police department,” according to the year-end report. 

The second-largest increase came from leadership training, which was up 52.8% from 2019 and includes the mandatory supervisor school for new supervisors, safe street encounters, and recruiting and hiring. The supervisor school training was for 3 officers totaling 360 hours. 

Professional development training increased by 47.1% from 2019. Professional development included in service hours along with officer field training, regional task force training, and an explosive detection canine handler’s conference. 

A large decrease was seen in tactical training as IPD trained 208 hours (no officer numbers reported) in 2019 and only 32 hours for four officers in 2020 (a decrease of 84.6%). Tactical training in 2020 was for structure clearing whereas 2019 included attending a tactical medical expo, boat operator search and rescue training, vehicle based tactics and low light situation training. 

Investigative training also decreased, down 64% from 2019. In 2019, 1,024 hours of investigative training were fulfilled while only 368 were fulfilled in 2020. 

“You could certainly say that the pandemic and virtual training were responsible for the decrease,” Chief Nayor said. “2020 was an anomaly.” 

2020 investigative training only covered interview and interrogation with two in-service categories included in the numbers. 2019, however, covered a wide variety of training. Some of these were child forensic interviewing, exploring the sexual offender, bloodstain pattern analysis, evidence management, Amish and Mennonite child safety, fire investigation, background investigation for police applicants, and developing a community response to child sex trafficking. 

This variety of training in 2019 was what helped prompt their training goals for 2020 where they wanted to see it stay varied from year to year, according to Chief Nayor. 

“I can’t say we accomplished our goals specifically…these goals were created before the pandemic and civil unrest and a lot of training had to be virtual and online,” Chief Nayor said. 

One of the 2020 training accomplishments the annual report showed is the beginning of location development for de-escalation, arrest and control tactics, and reality-based training. Chief Nayor said they had an unfinished structure on their department range that they received donations and funding to turn into a classroom and training area. 

One of the goals for 2021 is to finish the training site and he believes they are on track. 

“These types of trainings give our officers an improved ability to respond accurately,” he said. 

The other training goal is to continue a variety of relevant training for the whole IPD department, according to the annual report. This is the same goal that was laid out in 2019 but wasn’t met due to the pandemic and civil unrest. 

You can read the whole report here