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King County Sheriffs, Auburn look to fund pre-design of a centralized training facility
Thanks to a partnership with King County Sheriff Steve Strachan, Auburn is one step closer to building a regional law enforcement firing range and joint police and fire training facility.
The Sheriff's Office agreed to help fund a portion of the pre-design phase of the project.
"Teaming up with other agencies is critical to creating efficiencies and cost savings for the taxpayers," said Mayor Pete Lewis. "This is a huge step toward getting a much needed regional training facility started and we are extremely grateful to Sheriff Strachan for his willingness to partner with the City of Auburn."
The site of the proposed facility, located in southwest Auburn, once belonged to GSA and was deeded to the city in 2007. At that time, there were discussions about building a local fire training tower but there were no funds to go forward with the project.
The proposed training campus is now envisioned as a joint-use regional facility with participation by the Valley Regional Fire Authority (VFRA), Auburn Police Department, King County Sheriff Department and many other jurisdictions.
"We've heard from the Department of Justice Detention Center at SeaTac, the Renton-based Federal Reserve Police, as well as the police departments of Kent, Renton, Tukwila, Burien, Pacific, Sumner and Fife," Lewis said. "They all want to be partners on this project."
The campus could accommodate:
• An indoor shooting facility with 25-, 50- and 100-yard ranges and associated support spaces for police use as well as limited public use.
• One or more fire training buildings with live-fire props fueled by natural gas or propane.
• A police tactical training shoot house for simunitions either incorporated into the fire training structures or within the existing warehouse building.
• A large paved area for police and fire driver training, fire hose evolutions, roadway safety training, vehicle extrication training and many other forms of training.
• Offices, classrooms, storage and support space that can be configured into the existing 23,000 square foot building.
The Auburn Police Department is a regional service provider with participation on the Valley Special Weapons and Tactics team, the Valley Crisis Communications Unit the Valley Civil Disturbance Unit, the Tahoma Narcotics Enforcement Team and the Valley Narcotics Enforcement Team.
"Our officers need to train continually to keep their skills sharp," said Auburn Police Chief Bob Lee. "Because our current range is outdoors and in proximity to a residential area we can only train during daylight hours to respect the surrounding neighborhood."
Strachan says his agency and many other law enforcement jurisdictions face the same challenges as Auburn.
"Working together on a regional training facility not only keeps the cost down, it also provides continuity of training that benefits the region," he said. "A centralized facility in Auburn has the potential to allow our deputies to receive the training they need and still be able to get back on the streets quickly to serve our citizens."