The Johnson City Police Department opened its new $1.4 million Police Training Facility last Thursday afternoon with a ribbon-cutting ceremony.
City commissioners and administrators, police officers and former police chiefs joined Johnson City Police Chief Karl Turner for the occasion.
“An organization is only as strong as the training it receives, and we finally have a facility here for our police department to be able to receive the kind of training that is needed for today and the future,” said Johnson City Mayor Jenny Brock.
The 5,000-square-foot building, located at the Rick Collins Police Training Complex on Bull Rowland Boulevard, replaces portable classroom buildings, doubling the space previously available.
“This new building gives the department a safe and comfortable environment with modern amenities to conduct training for our officers and law enforcement personnel from around the region,” said Chief Turner.
The multiuse facility includes a 60-person classroom, conference room, administrative offices, a file room, a large storage area, and a small kitchen.
“We will use this facility to conduct all state required in-service and specialized training classes, including those we provide to outside agencies,” said Johnson City Police Department Sgt. Keith Sexton, who oversees the department’s Training Unit. “This space will be used for hiring assessments, meetings, conferences, and to host programs from professional law enforcement training entities.
“The old building, we really got the use out of it. It was probably 40 or 50 years old. It was really dilapidated, and we had this dream of someday having a building to do that professional type training. This building is a dream come true for us.”
Construction of the new building began June 30, 2018. It is the centerpiece of the training complex, which was dedicated in memory of the late Police Training Officer Rick Collins in 2017.
Turner recognized the vision and leadership of City Manager Pete Peterson, and also acknowledged the three former police chiefs in attendance – Ron Street, John Lowry and Mark Sirois – for helping pave the way for the project.
“They started this vision and carried it through,” Turner said. “Whether you were a torchbearer or you were the one who initiated it, we’re very thankful to all of our chiefs and glad they are here with us today.”