Whitewater, CO - It's not just the academy where law enforcement gets the training they need, it's also thanks to facilities like the Colorado Law Enforcement Training Center in Whitewater, which provides a variety of tactical intervention scenarios to not only train our officers in the right methods but to keep our community safer.
Officers demonstrated their Tactical Vehicle Intervention training, and it's just one of the many training scenarios available at the 80-acre site.
"There are several of these training facilities in the metro area and on the Front Range, but for the Western Slope, this is it. So, we truly want this to be a regional Western Slope wide training center that people can come to and provide good training", says Mesa County Sheriff Matt Lewis.
Many law enforcement agencies inside and outside of Mesa County use the training facility, and because of the high demand, additions such as a shooting range and other expansions are in the works to compensate for this need.
"This has been a work in progress for a number of years, and as we have built this facility out to what you see today, money has come from the sheriff's office, money has come from Colorado Mesa University, and money has come from the Grand Junction Police Department. On top of that, we've gone out and we've sought grant funding."
Additional funding includes money seized from drug-related crimes known as Civil Asset Forfeiture.
"The way it works here in Mesa County is that all seized funds go into one account, no matter which agency makes the seizure and ultimately the forfeiture. It goes into one account and that account is managed by a board", says Lewis.
Other training opportunities that are planned to be added include a burn tower for firefighters, classrooms, a fitness room, an arrest control training room, and a shoot/don't shoot simulator.
While the facility is still in need of more funding in order to expand, in no way is it using any of the sales tax dollars being generated from last year's ballot measure. That money is specifically geared towards bolstering the ranks of local law enforcement agencies.