Big changes are coming for Huntsville police and firefighters. They're getting a new multi-million dollar training academy.
The two departments currently share the old Johnson High school off Winchester road. They will soon move across town to Triana Boulevard near Redstone Arsenal.
"As far as police and fire training we tend to use whatever is available in the city," said Captain DeWayne McCarver.
Captain McCarver who's in charge of the police department's training said they've been at the current location for more than two years. Now, they're being built an academy that accommodates their needs because the current building is inefficient.
"There is really too much space to work well, and for us to be good stewards of the public's money we need to find a way to be more efficient.," he said.
The new academy will be built with classrooms for both the fire and police departments along with training fields for officers, firefighters and the department's K-9 unit.
McCarver said the two departments will continue to share an academy because it's crucial to their success on calls.
"We train with fire all time. We work together on how to respond to maybe an active shooting situation maybe where the police would get their handle the confrontation with the active shooter, but then we all have to work together to care for the injured and make sure we have a very timely response," McCarver added.
He said the academy is not only used to train incoming officers but every officer on the force. The classrooms at the academy are used year round.
"The state of Alabama requires 12 hours of continuing education a year per officer, but our department we do 40 hours," he said.
Huntsville police said the first phase of the new training facility which includes classrooms should open in the summer of 2020. The rest of the project is expected to take a few more years to complete as funding becomes available.
The old Johnson High School won't go unused once police and fire move. It's being renovated into a multi-million dollar community center for north Huntsville called the Johnson Legacy Complex.
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