City of Dothan moves forward with new public safety facility

(Source: WSFA 12 News)
(Source: WSFA 12 News)

DOTHAN, AL (WSFA) - The city of Dothan is working to bring a regional public safety training facility to the Wiregrass with help from The Wiregrass Foundation.

The $22 million public safety training facility will be one of a kind. It'll be the only center in the State and one of few across the country. Police, fire fighters
and members of the community will be able to use it.

The planning process for the project began about a year ago.

This week, the city commission voted to accept $20 million from the Wiregrass Foundation. The city plans to contribute $2 million to the project.

"Now we're going to go ahead and put out bids and we're going to get moving," said Mike Schmitz, Dothan's mayor. "The foundation's already paid for the architects, the designers and for folks that have a history of building these type of facilities.".

Leaders say, a public safety training facility has been long overdue. The city's last police training facility, which housed it's firing range and classrooms, was taken over by the expansion of the Omussee wastewater treatment plant. The new center will offer a gun range for police and the public, a K-9 kennel and training building, tactical classrooms, a tactical village and skills pad.

"We're going to bring in other law enforcement agencies in our region and we're going to try to make them better agencies through the education and training we will offer at the facility," said Steven Parrish, Dothan Chief of Police.

The new facility will allow firefighters to improve training tactics and better prepare them for real scenarios in a home and other buildings provided at the training center.

"In 2004 we had to stop training with live fire so it was practice with fake fire and we were prepared and it was good but the real world is we'll be able to train with live fire in the new facility and that's just going to make us better," Schmitz said.

Leaders hope to have the project completed by 2019.

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