Updated: 11/20/2012 10:08 AM KSTP.com By: Mitch Pittman
It's been nearly two years since a fire destroyed a training facility for Hennepin County Sheriff's deputies in Maple Grove. But out of that terrible situation there is a silver lining: the officers are now better prepared, and your tax dollars are better spent.
The deputies now train at Hennepin Technical College in Brooklyn Park at the school's new law enforcement training campus. It's a space that boasts two gun ranges and multiple scenario rooms such as a bar and convenience store so they can be prepared for any situation.
"We were fairly limited in terms of what we could do there, this provides a whole other range of opportunities for us," said Sheriff Richard Stanek, who believes the partnership makes deputies more prepared than when they were in their old facility.
Take the gun range, where they can now train on bigger, more advanced weapons such as long rifles. Monday they were training undercover officers on M-4s, something they couldn't do before.
The school also benefits by having current law enforcement around students.
"It keeps us very relevant in our training," said Joe Mulford, the school's Dean of Emergency Services. "The professionalism that the Gennepin County Sheriff's Office brings and their law enforcement officers bring to the campus here at Hennepin Tech is something that's an extreme benefit to the students."
But training at a state-of-the-art facility not only benefits the deputies and students, it also saves lots of taxpayer dollars. The sheriff's office saves $60,000 each year training at Hennepin Tech.
"The cost savings, you can't beat, we save well over a quarter of a million dollars over the next five years by coming to this facility and using their space," said Stanek. "And that's a very good thing for the taxpayers of Hennepin County in these tough economic times."