Turning Las Vegas into
Law Enforcement Hub
Tell us about the new law enforcement facility that has recently broken ground.
The First Responder Training Facility is located in the east end of the valley, at the base of Sunrise Mountain. The facility will be all-encompassing, including private security firms from the Strip hotels, fire, emergency medical services (EMS), police, federal law enforcement and emergency agencies, and the military. All of these entities will train here, in collaboration with one another, preparing them for typical, everyday calls, major incidents, such as the October 1 shooting, and responses to natural disasters.
The base of Sunrise Mountain in the East Las Vegas Valley
is the site of the First Responder Training Facility.
"The roles of first responders is changing and becoming more sophisticated."
Rendering of two of the Phase One structures
of the First Responder Training Facility.
Why is there such an emphasis on multi-departmental collaboration?
The challenge that we’ve had up to this point is that fire, EMS, police, and other agencies don’t train together. As a result, we don’t know what they’re going to be doing and how, and vice versa. By training together in this facility, we will be able to overcome that challenge and be more effective when responding to calls.
What is different about how first responders are training today?
A good example is the role of EMS and fire. Historically, they would be brought into a situation after the police had secured the scene. These responders wouldn’t normally have bulletproof vests. However, the world has changed and, today, EMS and fire are equipped with bulletproof vests and are expected to be first on the ground alongside police officers. The roles of first responders is changing and becoming more sophisticated. We need to train in order to ensure that we can fit into these new roles efficiently.
LVMPD Officers (top) and Las Vegas Fire & Rescue.
"We hope to attract innovative firms that can see
the value of what our facility offers."
How large is this facility?
The project is broken up into multiple phases. The first part was started 18 months ago, which is a firing range that is used by 35 law enforcement agencies.
Site preparation is currently underway for a 55,000 square foot building, which will be used by those same law enforcement agencies. It will include ample office space, as well as large, modernized classrooms, and a defensive tactics room, which will have wrestling mats for hand to hand combat. This will be a nice change from the portable structures that we’ve been working out of. This facility will also have equipment rooms for training with different types of physical and electronic gear. The last section within this building will be an active shooting training facility, which allows first responders to replicate an office-type active shooter situation.
The second building that will be located in that same complex will be around 118,000 square feet. We will be constructing an actual town, with city streets, houses and stores, all built to scale. Each building will contain items that you would normally find in these types of structures, from silverware in kitchens to swivel chairs in offices, so that we produce a real-world perspective of what our first responders will have to deal with. Even the streets will be big enough for fire engines. The reason for having this fabricated town indoors is so that we can control the environment. This includes giving us the ability to turn off the lights so that we can work in the dark or add smoke, if we are simulating a situation involving a fire. The level of detail will be exceptional, and extremely important.
The goal of this first phase is to provide space for trainers and trainees to interact with one another, and to provide a realistic setting for their training. It’s about learning to work with one another, which is something that we have not done in the past.
"There are many other structures that will be up for bid,
as this project continues to unfold."
Is there an RFP out for the construction of the various phases of the project?
Because this project is funded with private donations through the LVMPD Foundation, they are in charge of the bidding and selection process of the contractors. There are many other structures that will be up for bid, as this project continues to unfold. We will have a need for an emergency vehicle operations track, an academy, office space, classroom space, and firearms ranges in the upcoming phases.
The First Responder Training Facility hopes to be the nucleus of a Las Vegas law enforcement tech community.
How is this massive project getting funded?
This is being funded by the LVMPD Foundation, which collects private donations from the community. These two structures being built have a price tag of around $25 million, all of which is funded by these donations. None of this comes from tax revenue or any bond issuance.
How can members of the community get involved in this project?
What is the possible economic impact of this project?
A second focus for us is to establish a First Responder Tech Innovation Center. The replica towns, buildings, and city blocks that we’re going to be constructing are the perfect testing ground. Nowhere else could you try out a new innovation in a real-world setting without causing damage to property or infrastructure.
We hope to attract innovative firms that can see the value of what our facility offers. This is not just good for the local economy, but for the nation. The Las Vegas valley is beneficial from a tax perspective, it has great weather, and it’s geologically stable. It’s a great choice for companies seeking to innovate law enforcement technology and equipment.
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