When Adams County sheriff deputies needed to refresh their driving skills they had to go to two locations — an abandoned subdivision in Castle Rock and to Georgetown Lake during the winter for ice driving practice.
Firearm training was done off Riverdale Road and defensive tactics training was performed wherever there was an empty room.
Now deputies, and other law enforcement agencies in the area, can use the new Adams County Flatrock Regional Training Center that opened Aug. 24 at 23600 E. 128th Ave. in Commerce City. The $10.5 million facility offers firearms, driving and defensive tactics training at one centralized location.
“(Flatrock) really cuts down on travel time and allows us to work on a lot of different skills,” said Adams County Sheriff’s Office Division Chief Mike McIntosh. “Taking all our vehicles that deputies use down to Castle Rock to do driver training was not very effective.”
Flatrock features an Emergency Vehicle Operation Complex (EVOC), which includes a 6-acre asphalt skills pad for lower-speed maneuvers as well as a 1.3-mile highway course designed to test high-speed emergency maneuvers. This is much more convenient than waiting at a particular time in the winter to drive to Georgetown for certain types of training, McIntosh said.
“No we can put that car on a skid just like it was on ice,” he said. “We can do that in August or in January.”
He said a 10-hour training day used to include a lot of time spent traveling to a place for the training; now an officer can take those 10 hours and be trained in all three disciplines.
The training complex has a 10,000-square-foot building that provides academy classroom space that has a Force Option Simulator — a virtual reality room that provide officers a chance to respond to more than 500 different training scenarios using stun guns, batons and firearms.
There is also a 3,500-square-foot defensive tactics building where officers can receive hands-on training such as weapons search, handcuffing and arrest techniques. There are also two 50-yard tactical shooting ranges.
The complex, which took a year to complete, sits on just under 400 acres and only 100 of those acres are developed. McIntosh said the facility was designed in a way that each of the three training areas could be expanded.
“Keeping our residents safe is a challenging task, and the board of commissioners is proud to support our outstanding deputies by funding a facility that is worthy of the sacrifices they make every day in service to our community,” said Adams County Board of Commissioners Chair Eva Henry in a prepared statement.
The center is open to all law enforcement agencies to use, for a fee. Agencies that have already signed up to use the facility include Northglenn, Brighton, Colorado Department of Corrections and Aurora.
Thornton police currently uses a firing range in Longmont and uses the Colorado State Patrol Driving Track in Golden. Thornton Officer Matt Barnes said the department annually accesses its training requirements and training facility options that best meet its needs.
The Westminster Police Department is not currently planning on utilizing any part of the Flatrock facility, according to Westminster Investigator Cheri Spottke.