Madison police cut yellow crime scene tape on Tuesday to unveil the department’s $2 million training facility on the city’s Far East Side.

Chief Noble Wray said the 30,000-square-foot facility on four acres of land at 5702 Femrite Drive will allow the department to more efficiently and effectively train its officers, as well as offer specialized training for other law enforcement agencies on topics such as community policing, problem-solving, sensitive crimes and cyber safety.

“Training is your backbone,” Wray said, adding that Madison is one of three law enforcement agencies in Wisconsin with its own academy for new recruits.

The department was paying Madison Area Technical College about $48,000 a year to rent space for its pre-service academy for new recruits and paid additional rent for in-service trainings, said Capt. Sue Williams.

The facility will cost about $130,000 a year to operate. Wray said it is anticipated that enough income will be generated by presenting trainings to other agencies and other uses to pay for half of the operating costs for the next 10 years and all operating costs after that.
The former 4 Lakes Label and Printing plant now has instructional space for the 13 recruits in this year’s pre-service academy and office space for training staff.

It also has an area for defensive and tactical training and a scenario training area — a replica of an apartment with walls that can be reconfigured and furnishings obtained for free on Craigslist.

“The key is to make our training as lifelike and realistic as possible, so it really prepares officers for what they’re going to experience on the streets,” Williams said, adding the pre-service academy averages 20-25 recruits.

Source: Sandy Cullen for Wisconsin State Journal.

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