Cobb County Police recruits and related staffers are getting familiar with their brand-spanking-new police training center, into which the department moved Oct. 14
A Nov. 18 ribbon-cutting is set for the new 115,000 square-foot building at 2435 East-West Connector The project totaled about $23 million said Captain Benjamin Cohen, who heads the department’s training unit.
District 3 Commissioner JoAnn Birrell, this year’s commission liaison for public safety, called the state-of-the-art facility “much needed and long overdue” in an email. She said she looks forward to the first recruit class graduation that is also set for next week.
Cohen said that the facility does meet a host of different needs.
“The most noticeable thing about the building is the size,” he said. Before, the department had three classrooms dedicated to training law officers in the former 26,000 square foot joint police-fire academy facility on Valor Drive. With the new police-only facility the department will have 13 classrooms available, each of which can seat 40 to 50 people.
“We don’t have to share anymore,” he said.
He said the classrooms will each be equipped with state-of-the-art audio-visual equipment which gives them the capability to do virtual meetings in classrooms and conference rooms. The center also comes with an auditorium that can hold 450 people at one time, much bigger than the 120-capacity gathering room in the old building.
The auditorium will allow the department to hold its recruit class graduations on-site instead of having to find space elsewhere. It will also allow for more officers-to-be in each class, helping the department maintain full strength. Twenty-four trainees will graduate Nov. 19, with about 30 more following in March.
The facility will also contain a defensive tactics room, a state-of-the-art fitness center and a full-scale tactical village containing eight training scenario rooms such as a bank, a courtroom and an extended-stay center.
Cohen said, “What we can do now with the recruits is take them into one of the rooms and they can handle a simulated domestic situation (for example). After that they can go to a patrol car parked inside the tactical building, do a report and make an arrest. They can then go to the courtroom and testify in the case.”
Not only will the expanded training center enable them to keep graduations on-site, it will also allow the department to host training courses which officers used to have to head out of town to attend, saving the county that expense. One example cited: a police management course targeted to officers without a college degree. It’ll be staged there in September of 2021 and thus negate the need to send officers to Cherokee County or Columbus.
The center has been some time in the making. Birrell, who said she will most likely speak at the ribbon-cutting, said the facility “is a 2016 SPLOST project. It was approved by voters in 2014.”
“It is an incredible new facility and resource for our officers,” she added.
In addition to remarks from invited guests during the 11 a.m. event, tours of the facility will be offered.