Police training center opens

To really kick off the opening of the Colorado Law Enforcement Training Center on Thursday, police officers needed to test it.

After a round of speeches by dignitaries, drivers of a patrol car from the Mesa County Sheriff’s Department and the Colorado State Patrol flipped on their lights and sirens and pretended to pursue a vehicle around the new training track.

The $1.4 million facility off 32 Road on a mesa near the intersection of U.S. Highway 50 is the start of a partnership between law enforcement agencies. The training facility now has the concrete driver’s training track with rubberized barriers and an instructor’s tower. Future phases will include a pistol shooting range, an expansion of the existing driver training course, a facility to host academy training for police officers, a fire training area that could include a burn building, a fitness course and a simulated city block in which officers can practice training in an urban-like setting. Another addition might include an all-terrain vehicle track for training.

“This will make us better,” Mesa County Sheriff Stan Hilkey said of deputies being able to train at a dedicated facility.

Local law enforcement agencies have long needed a training facility as they often make do practicing in parking lots or abandoned buildings, officers have said.

Training on live fires for the Grand Junction Fire Department often required firefighters to travel long distances to train at live burn facilities in other cities.

Funding for the facility was obtained through several agencies, including the 21st Judicial District Seizure Board, Colorado Mesa University, the city of Grand Junction, Mesa County and a $400,000 grant from the Department of Local Affairs.


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