Police officers, assistants and firefighters to hone their driving skills at a new training center


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New $ 32.4 million training facility unveiled Wednesday will allow law enforcement officers, firefighters and paramedics across San Diego County to hone their driving skills to safely respond to emergencies , officials said.

The emergency vehicle operations center, the first of its kind in the region, spans 40 acres in the Otay Mesa area and includes three areas, including a runway, allowing first responders to train in drive in their patrol vehicles, fire trucks and ambulances.

Regional academy law enforcement recruits will also use the facility, which the county sheriff’s department will operate.

Deputy Sheriff Kelly Martinez said “emergency driving” is one of the riskiest jobs performed by first responders. She described the training center as “a huge investment in public safety”.

“It gives us the skills we need to be able to drive safely in the community,” Martinez said in an interview after a groundbreaking ceremony at the Otay Mesa Road site near Alta Road.

San Diego Police Chief David Nisleit echoed his comments.

“Something we need to do – and do safely – is answer calls for service,” Nisleit said at the ceremony. “Whether it’s responding to a mass casualty-type event, a shootout, or just a medical call, it’s imperative that we get there quickly, and to do that, we need to be safe.

First responders will practice changing lanes quickly, braking hard, driving in reverse and more. Simulated scenarios will help police practice handling prosecutions – how to track the suspect, maneuver in traffic, use spiked tapes, and more, Martinez said.

The facility will help officers and deputies meet state-mandated training requirements, Nisleit and Martinez said.

They both described the installation as a long overdue project.

This dates back to 1993, when the search for land on which to build the facility began, Martinez said. The Otay Mesa area site was selected in 2017 and construction began last October.

“It’s amazing to finally see this come to fruition,” said Nisleit.

For years, San Diego police officers and county sheriff’s deputies – and regional academy recruits – trained in the parking lot of what was then Qualcomm Stadium in Mission Valley. After the city of San Diego sold the site to San Diego State University last year, the agencies moved to the parking lot at Pechanga Arena in the Midway District.

For the San Diego Cal Fire teams, training took place in parking lots and on surface streets.

“This (facility) will give us a safe and secure place to conduct our operations without disrupting businesses or residential areas for that matter,” said division manager Mark Oakley.

P. Wesley Lundburg, president of Miramar College, which is home to the regional law enforcement academy, said the college has partnered with law enforcement and firefighters at the new facility to prepare its recruits for their role in public safety.

“The construction of this new facility sends an important message to our community, as well as our students and cadets, about our shared commitment to providing the best prepared and best prepared MPs and police officers in the country,” said Lundburg.

The price of $ 32.4 million includes the purchase of the property and the construction of the facility. San Diego and Miramar College provided $ 5 million each.

Officials said they plan to add classrooms and an administrative office to the site as part of a future phase when funding becomes available.


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Milton S. Rodgers