Mass. Police Training Council Director Resigns, Replacement Vows Changes
NEEDHAM, Mass. (AP) _ The director of the Criminal Justice Training Council resigned Wednesday and his replacement immediately abolished a program that led to hospitalization of 16 cadets at a training academy in Agawam.
″We can never allow what happened at Agawam to happen again,″ said Peter W. Agnes Jr., who was appointed interim director of the Council as the resignation of executive director Gary F. Egan was accepted. The council operates the state’s police training centers, including the one for state police at Agawam.
Agnes said he expects to make personnel changes, although he would not be specific. He also rescinded the council’s program known as ″modified stress training,″ which combines constant exercise and unexpected situations during training and was partially blamed for the dehydration suffered by cadets that led to the illnesses.
″There must be an accounting for the administrative failures of the Criminal Justice Training Council Organization and the mistakes that were made,″ said Agnes, an assistant to state Secretary of Public Safety Charles V. Barry.
The most seriously ailing cadet, Timothy M. Shepard, 25, of Pittsfield, remained in critical condition at a Pittsburgh hospital Wednesday after lapsing back into a coma. Shepard, who required a liver transplant after collapsing on Sept. 19, the first day of training at Agawam, underwent surgery for a blood clot on the brain Monday.
Attorney General James Shannon investigated the academy’s training after cadets reported they were pushed to the limits of their endurance with hours of running, push-ups and other exercises the first day of class on just a few small cups of water.
He found the training was a ″massive failure″ that was to blame for the kidney ailments suffered by 26 of the 50 cadets in Shepard’s class.
Shannon said he would not prosecute, but said the chief of the agency responsible for the training should resign or be dismissed.
Egan’s letter of resignation offered no reasons for his departure, which was effective Tuesday. He had been on paid leave for a week.
After the cadets fell ill, academy officials had said that the training of police cadets was purposefully stressful, but not abusive, in order to best prepare the students for the physical and emotional stresses of police work.
Egan’s letter of resignation, read by council Chairman John P. McHugh, offered no reasons for his departure. He had been on paid leave.