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The HERO Center looks to expand police training

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HERO Center breaks ground, expanding horizon of training capabilities across region Co-authored by: Greg Rinzel, Cottage Grove Public Safety & Kris Mienert, Woodbury Public Safety After years of focused work, in October 2018, the HERO CENTER moved one step closer to completion. Through the combined leadership of the Cities of Woodbury and Cottage Grove, with support from multiple agencies and partial funding from the State of Minnesota, a vision for a new regional training facility became reality. In concert with Leo A Daly architects and RJM Construction, the team broke ground on a new 47,308 Square Foot state-of-the-art immersive training center for police, fire and emergency medical services. “We are extremely excited to bring this facility to reality and to provide officers with a first-rate, technologically-advanced and safe area MARCH 2019 | ONLINE

to improve their response skills,” says Lee Vague, Woodbury’s Public Safety Director. “When you look at what’s available throughout the Twin Cities, you’ll see a large void in this corner of the metro. The HERO center will help us improve our service to our residents while also helping Cottage Grove, Woodbury and our partners to recruit new police candidates in the years to come.” says Pete Koerner, Public Safety Director for Cottage Grove. The HERO Center is the first multi-agency, new-build training center, dedicated to serving all first responders, in nearly a decade. “As Chiefs, we’re always challenged by time, space and budget constraints. The HERO center will help us in all

three categories and we know the facility can help other departments facing similar issues. We hope this project will bring our law enforcement agencies together by sharing costs and offering the best training available,” says Vague. There is both time and space available for any police and first responder partners. Whether it’s classroom space, range time, useof-force training, ladder, apparatus, or canine, the HERO Center has something for every unit or scenario you can think of, with capability of up to 190,000 individual training hours yearly. Financial commitments to secure 2020 training spots is now open; tours will be hosted in late 2019. 3

THE INTEGRATED, REALITY-BASED TRAINING FACILITY One important feature of the integrated facility is that it’s built for ALL first responders. Often, calls or responses are made to Police in conjunction with Fire or EMS crews. This training center will bring public safety responders- both locally and regionally- together in a safe and modern facility. With the new center, police officers, firefighters, paramedics, and EMT’s will be able to practice hands-on skills in real-life scenarios, utilizing the tools and skills they need to do their jobs. The result will be better service to the community and the region. As public safety education continues to evolve, the use of immersive, realistic scenario-based training is increasingly utilized as an effective way to prepare police officers, firefighters and EMS staff for their real-world encounters. The training center design enables immersive, realistic scenariobased training; in 5 key indoor pods. “Organized around the concept of training pods, the design set out set to enable agencies to train specifically in a single core skill area, or to 4

create a sequence of training drills through the linked pods,” says Cindy McCleary, Leo A Daly lead Architect for the project, “as well, the facility layout enables multiple agencies to be training simultaneously, without impacting the adjacent drill.” This allows for flexible training as demands change, and the ability to develop training drills that more closely mimic the real field.” The facility’s indoor training pods consist of: (2) 50-seat classrooms (or a combined 100 seat classroom), state-of-the-art immersive simulation training room, realitybased training bay (with multi-level/ drive through/training stair/mobile walls), dedicated Response-toResistance “Mats” Room, (1) 12-lane tactical 50 YD indoor range and (1) 4-lane tactical 50 YD training range. Outside, the facility boasts a large vehicle maneuvering area for apparatus and extractions, (1) canine training yard, (1) helicopter pad, and two mock house structures. “Sharing a training facility with our partner from Woodbury really gave us the opportunity to build the best training center we could. We didn’t leave much on the cutting room

floor,” says Vague. “There are so many similarities between our communities; we share the same challenges and often, we share the same calls. We are looking forward to increasing our area partnerships as more departments join us and take advantage of the HERO Center,” says Koerner.

HISTORY In 1999, the State of Minnesota also recognized the shortages of adequate public safety training facilities for the East metro. Through two separate reports (Minnesota Department of Public Safety: Public Safety Training Facility Needs Assessment, May 2009, and Minnesota Department of Public Safety: Statewide Master Plan for Fire and Law Enforcement Training Facilities, 1999), documented that historically, agencies relied upon a mixture of borrowed, temporary and rented facilities. Training locations are often outdated, insufficientand in some cases unsafe. Most all involve considerable travel time and coordination. As agencies evolved to respond to increased mandates for training and desired training platforms to better prepare for real-world


situations, most recognized the current facilities available for hosting this type of education are insufficient for meeting mandated training needs. The reports documented that the current state was not a sustainable system, nor did it provide for the safety and security of Public Safety staff as they train. As Cottage Grove and Woodbury continued to train collaboratively, the agencies recognized the lack of an adequate training center and led the initiative to solve this issue. In 2013, the cities of Cottage Grove and Woodbury partnered with each other to start the planning and funding process to build a state-of-the-art public safety training facility to be

available as a Regional resource. Both Cottage Grove(MN) and Woodbury (MN) provide police, fire, and emergency medical services use an integrated public safety model. This allows all three disciplines to work cooperatively to serve their communities while reducing costs through shared services. In-service training is a critical component in supporting this model. This project is a result of a strong collaboration between multiple government agencies. In 2015, the State of Minnesota provided $1.46 million for predesign and design of the facility, and in 2018, an additional $9.5 million bonding appropriation to construct,

furnish, and equip the facility. The South Washington County Telecommunications Commission and South Washington Watershed District also are contributing funding for the project. Cottage Grove and Woodbury are sharing the remaining costs to construct the $20.5 million facility. Project team members also include the architectural firm of Leo A. Daly and RJM Construction. The training center also will create opportunities for the public, including community-based safety education and training such as CPR, firearms, and recreational vehicle safety training. The facility, located on a 9-acre site adjacent to the Cottage Grove City Hall and Public Safety Building, is expected to open for training in January 2020. For more information about the project, or to learn how your agency can train at this new facility, please contact Greg Rinzel, Cottage Grove Deputy Director of Public Safety at 651-458-2850 or GRinzel@cottagegrovemn.gov, or Kris Mienert, Woodbury Assistant Director of Public Safety at 651-714-3600 or Kris. mienert@woodburymn.gov



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Wear the Badge connects with educational partners When the Minnesota Chiefs of Police Association first launched Wear the Badge late last year it was pretty effective at communicating the need to recruit a new generation of peace officers. Major Minnesota media outlets, from newspapers to television, ran stories highlighting the drop in peace officer applications and test takers. Now, as the campaign enters its fourth month, there will be more focus on the message to law enforcement students themselves. “We have heard from educational partners and others about their interest in using Wear the Badge in their own programs,” said MCPA executive director Andy Skoogman. “The videos have done a good job of communicating why officers young and old decided to get into law enforcement. They are authentic, personal stories that resonate with students exploring their own career paths.” While it is early and likely will be difficult to measure the direct impact on applications, thousands of people who ‘liked’ and shared Wear the Badge stories on social media platforms. Law enforcement trainers see a role for Wear the Badge when it comes to helping prospective and current law enforcement students better understand and prepare for careers. “This is something we will talk about with our members and partners at ETI in St. Cloud,” Skoogman said. “We have gotten peoples’ attention and knew April would be a good time to hear from law enforcement leaders and educators from around the region about what they would like to see next.



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Virginia leaders make the case the case for regional training center Virginia city leaders have asked lawmakers to provide funding for a new Regional Public Safety and Training Center. The state would approve $15 million in bonding money with the city contributing the remaining $10 million through a range of financing options. Designers envision a complex that would allow for specialized, cost-effective, quality training close-to-home for Fire, Police and Public Safety departments from all over northern Minnesota. The fire station itself was built in 1907 and in recent years equipped has been modified so it can fit through the same bay doors and stalls that once housed horse-drawn steam pumpers. "We have made numerous changes in our building to accommodate staff but are still sorely lacking in much needed amenities for the staff such as locker and storage." fire chief Alan Lewis wrote in a recent editorial for the Mesabi Daily News. Chief Lewis also outlined police department space needs to remain compliant with Bureau of Criminal Apprehension data and storage requirements. The areas public safety resources have undergone staffing changes in recent years. The city current has 37 personnel working as firefighter/paramedics, single role paramedics and single role EMTs. Like many communities, Virginia has experienced an increase and shift in the types of calls it receives with more demand for advanced life support services. The current proposal will be considered by Minnesota lawmakers as part of the larger public works and infrastructure bill. A complete outline of the project is available through this link.

Minnesota POST Board approves LEOSA Trainers, Inc. for 6 credits of law enforcement continuing education With nearly 300,000 Minnesota permit to carry holders, plus armed visitors from other states the likelihood that there may be some contact with lawfully armed citizens by law enforcement officers is greater today than ever before. There is an expectation that all law enforcement officers know the laws, but without training, that is unlikely. So, training is now available statewide. At the end of this training, participants will: 1. Be familiarized with training offered to citizens who desire a permit to carry 2. Have a better general understanding about armed citizens 3. Be familiar with Minnesota’s permit to carry law and laws related to the lawful carry and possession of firearms 4. Be familiar with citizens use of judicious force training 5. Be prepared to interact with lawfully armed citizens 6. Have successfully completed a live fire exercise 7. Be prepared to apply for a MN permit to carry 8. Receive a copy of the book the Minnesota Guide For Armed Citizen, a $34.95 value.

For more information or to schedule training contact

Gene German LEOSA Trainers, Inc.

612.388.2403 gene@leosatrainers.com 2500 Shadywood Road, Suite 100 | Orono, MN 55331



Anti-Defamation League provides Minnesota law enforcement training When the FBI released crime statistics late last year, it showed the number of hate crimes reported to the bureau rose about 17% in 2017, which is the latest year for which those statistics are available. It was the third-straight year that hate crime incidents rose.

(ADL) has created specialized training programs. They have been designed by human relations specialists with experience working with law enforcement and public safety leaders to help personnel train in the following areas: •

In the months since the report, a number of new cases have generated fresh debate, including the case of actor Jussie Smollett who Illinois authorities now charge with falsely reporting he was the victim of a hate crime. Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson told reporters he worried about what the case could mean for victims of actual hate crimes. "My concern is that hate crimes will now publicly be met with a level of skepticism that previously didn't happen," Johnson said. Police agencies across the globe have been thrust into the role of helping communities navigate hate-based crimes and other incidents. To assist law enforcement professionals in meeting these challenges, the Anti-Defamation League

Critically examine stereotypes and cultural assumptions that are often held by the community and by the law enforcement professionals who serve the community. • Examine ways participants perceive others, how others perceive them and how this impacts officer effectiveness and, ultimately, officer safety • Observe and experience cultural differences, to increase awareness of attitudes and behaviors, and to appreciate the commonalities that exist across diverse cultures Discuss the negative effects of prejudice and discrimination and thereby become empowered to confront these divisive issues Examine how diversity skills directly affect law enforcement work, including its relationship to hate crime investigations • Create a situation that will reinforce the concept of team building • Turn knowledge into usable skills for serving a diverse community ADL is currently providing training for a number of Minnesota police agencies and trainers, including Mendota Heights and Alexandria Technical and Community College. So in addition to ADL training helping police departments meet the mandate for cultural competency training, officers can now receive continuing education credits for completing MIB training as well. For more information, visit the Training page at www. mnchiefs.org. “We know that research shows scenariobased training is more effective than lecturestyle learning,” Skoogman said. “The time is now to incorporate interactive trainings into our academies.”




PUBLIC SAFETY OFFICIALS AND THEIR FAMILIES As former police officers with 50 years of combined experience, we know full well the importance of making informed decisions about retirement. We are passionate about supporting our law enforcement community and are dedicated to working with police officers and their families to ensure their questions are answered and their goals are achieved!

What is your organization’s wellness plan and how can we help your officers and staff? Financial literacy is critical to overall wellness! • Set Goals – Commit to achieving your goals. Don’t make saving an afterthought. • Debt Management – Live within your means. Spend less than you make. • Employer Benefits – Are your officers adequately protected against death, injury, and/or illness? • Pay Yourself First – Plan for retirement. How are you supplementing PERA? • What are your tax-advantaged strategies? • Retirement Planning – What are all the considerations involved with this important decision?

Education is critical! We can provide strategies for your agency’s wellness plan. We regularly provide educational opportunities at police departments and will be happy to help you. Daniel M. Athmann, FIC

Twin Cities Regional Development Leader Financial Associate 12700 Nicollet Ave. S., Ste. 120b Burnsville, MN 55337 dan.athmann@thrivent.com

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Profile for MN Chiefs of Police Assoc.

Minnesota Police Chief Online - March 2019  

A magazine focusing on issues and stories of interest to Minnesota law enforcement.

Minnesota Police Chief Online - March 2019  

A magazine focusing on issues and stories of interest to Minnesota law enforcement.