City leaders cut a ribbon to usher a new era of safety and training in the city when it officially opened the northern public safety building at 100 E. Dove Road on Jan. 14.
Mayor John Terrell led the ceremonies before a crowd of almost 200.
“This is designed to train and educate the folks responsible for our safety every day,” he said to a crowd including fire and police staff. “I look forward to how each and everyone of you are going to flourish.”
The 39,354-square-foot facility houses a fire engine crew, an indoor firing range and training rooms.
The north building joins the DPS West facility on 2100 W. Southlake Blvd. and the central headquarters next to Southlake Town Square.
Crime Control and Prevention District President Bob Mundlin said the addition will lower insurance rates for Southlake residents and improve safety for residents on the north side of town.
City Manager Shana Yelverton echoed the sentiment.
“The most important aspect is the enhancement that it provides to the citizens to the north side of Southlake,” she said.
In previous interviews, Fire Chief Michael Starr said operating out of the facility can reduce medical response times in northern parts of the city.
Firefighter/paramedic Steve Green was one of the staff to be moved to the new facility in mid December.
“I do consider myself lucky,” he said about his experience in the new building.
“It has probably the most interesting design I’ve ever seen in my whole career,” the 20-year veteran said. “Getting from one part of the station to another, it’s so easy to do.”
The facility includes a large auditorium and several classrooms for training.
One of the benefits is the addition of an indoor firing range.
Assistant Police Chief James Brandon said it’s an advantage for the city to have its own facility.
He said in the past, the department used other police departments’ shooting ranges and had to work with their schedules. Now the city has priority in training scheduling, which can increase the amount that staff trains.
During a tour of the facility, a police SUV was parked in the firing range. Brandon said the department can bring vehicles to simulate and train on more real-life situations. He gave an example of turning off the range’s lights, having officers drive in a vehicle with the red and blue lights flashing, park the car, open the door and begin shooting.
He said the goal is “to have training that is as realistic as we can make it.”
City leaders have said the building can be used to train Southlake staff, but also host regional training opportunities.
Colleyville Police Chief Michael Holder said he and Southlake’s Police Chief Steve Mylett have talked about the regional opportunities for training and he looks forward to working out the logistics.