GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO) -- The Regional Public Training Facility has been a county commissioner topic of conversation for the past 10 years and today the project is breaking ground.
The Western Slope has never had a public training facility and now after two decades of work, the funds are final and the construction is in the works for the Regional Public Training Facility.
Mesa County commissioner, Rose Pugliese, is enthusiastic about a training facility coming to the grand valley.
"This will be the only regional public training facility on the western slope so that's an exciting prospect for us," Pugliese.
The training facility will be open for all law enforcement entities within Mesa County.
Heather Benjamin of the Mesa County Sheriff's Office says the training facility was twenty years in the making and the first part of the project to be completed will be the driving track.
Traffic crashes are the second leading cause of death for law enforcement.
"Having them a dedicated location for driving is really critical," says Benjamin.
Pugliese points out the economic benefits, she says if we open the training facility to outside counties, their law enforcement officers would come to the Grand Valley. The officials would stay at our hotels and eat in our restaurants- in turn, boost local businesses.
"For me, I was thinking after the hearing about potential economic benefits that people aren't really thinking about," said Pugliese.
The Regional Training Facility would also make Western Slope residents safer, as the working relationships between officers and other emergency responders is strengthened.
"All law enforcement here in Mesa County and the western slope can come together and officially train together," says Benjamin.
Colorado Mesa University's Police Academy, Mesa County Sheriff's Office and Grand Junction, Fruita and Palisade Police Departments will train at the facility.
The training facility will be located off of Highway 141 and 50, on land owned by CMU.
The project's bid originally came in over budget, therefore, Mesa County and The City of Grand Junction each invested another eighty-thousand dollars. CMU also contributed an extra eighty-thousand dollars.
Phase one of the 1.3 million dollar project is expected to be completed by June of this year.
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