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Police, Fire Departments Break Ground on New Training Facility

On Thursday morning, the Police and Fire Departments of Springfield held a groundbreaking ceremony at the joint station on West Battlefield Road. KSMU’s Justin Lux was on hand and has the story.

Stand-up: I’m here at the Police and Fire Station on West Battlefield Road where a groundbreaking ceremony was held for the new training facility. The center will provide classrooms equipped with the latest technology and equipment for both classroom learning and practical application.

“What’s so nice about this is that it gives us where we can centralize our training. Other departments can come in and we can all train on standardized procedures and methods and really have the tools to do that.”

That’s Fire Chief David Hall. He says being able to house the entire operation under one roof will allow the departments to greatly improve the training they’re able to offer.

“I just can’t express how nice this is going to be in having a place where we can have our recruit classes and yet at the same time be doing our in-service company trainings out here and doing the drills with them,” Hall says.As it stands now, a majority of the police department’s training takes place on the second floor of the old City Hall building. Police Chief Paul Williams says with the importance of training, having the adequate facilities is essential.

“We put everybody through about 60 hours of training a year, and that’s everybody whose here now. Then of course recruits have a six months training class. So having a facility that will allow us to do all that and somewhere at the same time is going to be phenomenal,” he says.

The new training facility, which will be built as an addition to the joint Police and Fire Station No.6 facility on West Battlefield Road, will also be accessible to public safety departments around the southwest Missouri region.

The new center will allow the police department to simulate situations in which officers may find themselves. At the same time, the fire department will also have access to classrooms with the latest technology that will keep training captain Richard O’Connor and his recruits on their toes.

“You can actually change the room set-up and it’ll allow us to be able to create different situations so we’re not going into the same room that everyone becomes familiar with and knows how it’s laid out and it becomes a routine,” says O'Connor.

The $4.5 million dollar facility was made possible through Level Property Tax funds that voters approved ten years earlier.

The project is expected to be completed by June of 2012.

For KSMU News, I’m Justin Lux