Mayor Rahm Emanuel today announced the City will develop a new, state-of-the-art Public Safety Training Academy in Chicago’s West Garfield Park neighborhood as part of the city’s continued efforts to provide the best tools, technology and training to first responders. The City plans to build the Academy on 30.4 acres of vacant land located at 4301 W Chicago Ave. The new facility will allow first responders to receive specialized training, to improve collaboration in emergency response, and receive hands-on practice in real-world situations.

“Our first responders deserve the best training to take on the challenges they face every day, and they deserve best facility to learn and practice in,” said Mayor Emanuel. “Chicago’s new Public Safety Training Academy will provide much needed overhaul to the over 40-year-old training facilities currently used, and allow police officers, fire fighters and paramedics to receive training based on the nation’s best practices.”

The CPD Police Academy at 1300 W. Jackson was built in 1976, the Fire Prevention training facility 1010 S. Clinton was constructed in 1950. The Fire Academy South, located at 1338 S. Clinton, was developed in 1965.

“In addition to the improved classrooms, I’m very excited about the indoor and outdoor scenario training that will be available at the new Public Safety Training Academy,” said Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson. “The scenario training is exactly what CPD needs to give our officers the best hands-on training possible so they can react appropriately in the field regardless of the situation.”

The plans for Public Safety Training Academy include two buildings as well as outdoor site development. The main building will include classrooms, labs, simulators, conference rooms, an auditorium and administrative offices. The secondary building will include a shooting range, space for active scenario training and a dive training pool. The outdoor site improvements will include a driving course, skid pad, and space for active scenario training.

“The reality is that the Fire Department and the Police Department jointly respond to incidents every day,” said Fire Commissioner Jose Santiago. “The new Public Safety Training Academy will allow Fire and Police personnel to train together so both departments know their roles during a response and are prepared to fulfill those roles without hesitation and in the most professional manner possible.”

The selected property is currently privately held and the City is performing its due diligence in anticipation of closing on the property by early 2018. Construction is planned to begin in 2018, estimated to continue for 24 to 36 months and bring nearly 100 construction jobs to the area.

“Not only does this facility bring nearly 100 jobs to West Garfield Park, it will bring an additional opportunity to the Chicago Police Department to improve training at this critical time,” CIT Board Chair Kurt Summers said. “There’s much more work to be done for real reform and I look forward to supporting that crucial work to begin reestablishing trust and safety for Chicago’s residents and our communities.”

The estimated cost for the proposed Public Safety Training Academy, including land acquisition, is $95 million. The City intends to work with the Chicago Infrastructure Trust to select a developer to design, build and finance the project.

“The CIT is looking forward to supporting the City’s efforts to develop the new Public Safety Training Academy,” said Leslie Darling, Chicago Infrastructure Trust’s Executive Director. “Not only will the new Academy provide start-of-the-art training opportunities to the men and women of Chicago’s public safety departments, it will represent a significant investment by the City in the West Garfield Park neighborhood.”

These plans build on the Mayor’s commitment to providing first responders will the best-in-class training as part of broader reforms to ensure first responders have the tools, tactics and training needed to be successful in their challenging work. The Next Steps for Reform emphasizes a commitment to strengthen community policing, manpower, supervision and public accountability.

In the Next Steps, CPD commits to expand and improve both new recruit and in-service training, including greater emphasis on scenario-based tactical training, interagency collaboration and developing a broader set of training courses that addresses all aspects of duties performed by officers and their supervisors – all of which will be trained on at these new facilities. Next week, the police department will begin their rigorous, accelerated training schedule of every officer in the new use of force policies.

“I am pleased that West Garfield Park was selected by the Mayor for this important and long-lasting investment,” said Alderman Emma Mitts (37th Ward). “The thousands of first-responders reporting there for training every day will not only drive economic and community development throughout the neighborhood, but also add a big public safety presence to our streets giving children and families more confidence as they travel about their lives.”

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