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New Public Safety Training Facility Benefits Communities

Bryan Albrecht, president of Gateway Technical College, writes that a high-tech public safety training center benefits everyone, from first responders for preparedness to the residents who might one day need them.

Public safety is important for society. It’s as basic of a service a government can provide its residents. Yet, the demands society places on law enforcement professionals for more sophisticated training grows.

Successful public safety begins with the training law enforcement and correctional officers receive as they enter their career, and continues to build in quality through the professional development they receive throughout their career.

The number of trained professionals who protect us is amazing. Gateway plays a role in this through its law enforcement academy and its law enforcement degree program graduates. Agencies in the Gateway district seek these graduates as qualified applicants for an increasing number of open positions – a trend that will continue for the next several years, labor officials say.

The academy, however, is outstanding only as far as it can serve now – it can be improved with larger and enhanced facilities and could meet the needs of more recruits and professionals if we had the capability to offer certain types of training we are unable to now.

Gateway proposes a new public safety training center to be built in the center of the college’s district as part of its expansion proposal, to be decided by voters April 2. It’s a large component of the proposal and would provide expanded ways to meet the needs of law enforcement officers throughout their career. This, ultimately, benefits communities and residents.

The center would provide for scenario training through buildings which would simulate a neighborhood – as close to being on the job and responding to an actual emergency as possible, but in a learning environment where actions can be honed before real-life situations.

Gateway also currently has too little space to accommodate joint emergency response drills. The added space and simulated city areas of the proposed facility and grounds would allow for students and professionals from all areas of emergency response – fire, police, EMS – to participate in simulated emergencies. Again, proper response tactics can be learned and honed before an actual emergency takes place – helping professionals and the public they serve.

An emergency vehicle operation course (EVOC), which provides safe training in the operation of emergency vehicles under numerous, potentially dangerous conditions, would be part of the center. The center would also feature a modern indoor firing range.  Currently the academy uses an aging range in the basement of the Kenosha Campus.  

The referendum proposal for a Public Safety Center is designed to position our college for growth and sharpen our ability to train police officers and fire officials at the highest levels.

These are the men and women that protect us and secure our neighborhoods. The Public Safety Center ensures the safety of our officers and communities.

Bryan Albrecht
President, Gateway Technical College 

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