WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - The Wilmington Police Department gave the public a special look at its new training center Thursday.
The Haynes Lacewell Police and Fire Training Facility is located on a portion of the city’s 46-acre tract of land in the area of Hurst Street and Princess Place Drive near Maides Park. The city broke ground on the $9.1 million project last fall.
“Finally after putting together the vision about what the best training facility would look like, today we’re able to see that reality,” said Linda Thompson with the Wilmington Police Department.
The facility is named after two of Wilmington’s prominent African-American public servants; Sergeant Edward Lee Haynes was one of the first African-American police officers in the Wilmington Police Department and Captain Eric Lacewell is a fallen firefighter.
“It really means a lot to our family because his name will go on forever," said Tyrone Brown, nephew of Captain Lacewell. "He was a mentor of mine, he just showed us the right things to do and the way to do things, its really an honor.”
The 30,000 square-foot facility includes a use-of-force simulator for de-escalation tactics, a driving simulator, a 100-yard indoor shooting range, an indoor K-9 training area and outdoor obstacle course, an armory and classrooms.
Officials say they plan to use these to their advantage to help with escalating incidents and train for any type of real-life scenarios the officers could be put in. Assistant Police Chief Donny Williams says this will help officers from training to become warriors, to now training to protect.
“Every day we should be looking at ways we can do things better and that’s what this facility allows us to do,” said Williams. “It will embody our mission statement which is to protect. That’s what we want to embody, and part of that mission is always looking for ways to change and improve so we can deliver the best service to our citizen."
The training calendar will begin at the start of the year but some closed-door scenario training will be done in the next couple of weeks to make sure everything runs smoothly.
The public is encouraged to tour the facility and even take police citizen’s academy classes when they get everything up and running by the beginning of next year.