City to construct officer driver's training facility

Posted by: Melissa Johnson - bio | email

Montgomery, AL (WSFA) - The city of Montgomery is partnering with the Alabama Peace Officer's Association to build a new $4 million dollar defensive driving course.

The goal is to give officers better tools to keep themselves and the community safer on the roads.

Montgomery Police Sgt. Ben Harrison says, "The majority of our duties along with answering calls is actually driving around the neighborhoods and streets of Montgomery."

He says dangerous situations behind the wheel are all part of a day's work.

"We get into high speed chases, and the situation sometimes dictates that we drive faster than the speed limit," said Harrison.

Now, thanks to a new city initiative, he and fellow officers will soon have a new place to train for those scenarios.

According to Mayor Todd Strange, it's going to be a state-of-the-art defensive driving track.

The facility will be located near the firing range just past the Montgomery Airport.

It will be large enough for police cars, and even fire trucks, to map out defensive driving courses.

Harrison said, "Having the officer learning to maneuver through cars without causing any harm to the public or themselves-- there just can't be anything that would be better for the officers in my opinion."

At the Police Department, a wall of plaques honors the 23 officers killed in the line of duty; eleven of them have been killed in traffic related accidents.  Officials say that is reason enough for this drivers training facility.

Robert McCrory said, "They need all the training they can get so they can go home with their families."

He and his wife Kricket were glad to hear the plans because they know what it feels like to know their son isn't coming home.

"We miss him.  We're not over it by a long shot, and we never will," said Kricket McCrory.

While their son Eddie was killed off-duty in a car accident caused by a drunk driver, they agree, extra preparations could save a life.

Sgt. Harrison echoes their feelings.  "That's the last thing we want to see.  We don't want any of our officers hurt or killed, and we don't want to see any of the citizens in Montgomery injured either."

The Mayor says the facility will also be a revenue source for the city because they plan to lease it out to private companies for use as well.

You can expect more details about the facility at a press conference on Tuesday.

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