By Jay Mejia
Lee’s Summit police officers have embarked on a new path to acquire and hone their skills through “continuity of training” afforded by a new, centralized addition to police headquarters that city leaders officially dedicated May 1.
“In the past, we sent officers around the country to learn new skills and concepts related to best practices and bring them back to us,” Interim Police Chief Scott Lyons said in an interview with the Lee’s Summit Tribune about the new building. “Now, we can bring those experts to us and host in-house training for all of our officers. We can make that same training available to other local departments and agencies which will enhance the way our officers work together.”
The continuity of training concept enables officers the flexibility of integrating new skills instead of having to spend an entire workday training separately on firearms, defensive tactics and vehicle operations. For example, the facility’s unique design enables officers to train in a 3-D environment inside the tactical firing range where they can shoot from any position.
“By applying a mix of disciplines in a simulated environment, officers are better equipped when they engage and respond to calls,” Lyons said. “We can more quickly and clearly see where an officer’s strengths lie. We can see where improvement is needed and address that through training.”
The state-of-the art facility also streamlines and safeguards detention for people brought into custody for suspected offenses.
“The majority of our new detention facility was accomplished by moving walls, in order to comply with the Federal and State standards,” Lyons said. “We now meet the standards of sight and sound separation of men, women and youth.”
“It’s a highly sophisticated training facility that can serve multiple purposes,” said Mayor Randy Rhoads. “The detention facility respects the differing requirements of men, women, and youth detainees."
For police officers, the centralized, new facility brings a number of benefits, said Sgt. Christopher Depue of the department's Public Information Unit.
“It’s big and little things, like being able to sleep in your own bed after training instead of a hotel room, not having to stand outside in the cold and the rain when you’re practicing firearms,” Depue said. “We can bring in an ambulance inside the detention center sally port if somebody requires medical attention. The bomb squad and SWAT trucks aren’t exposed to the elements. We can all train together, eat lunch together and that is an added benefit of an ‘esprit de corps.’”
The expansion of the police facility creates new opportunities for the City of Lee’s Summit to serve the community, according to Lee’s Summit City Manager Stephen Arbo.
“The training facility will allow our officers to continue building skills used in stressful situations requiring immediate reaction and the detention facility will provide a safer and more secure environment,” Arbo said. “This expansion project will also provide opportunities for our police department to build better working relationships with our businesses and neighborhoods through the use of our new ‘community room.’ All of these opportunities support the qualities of the Lee’s Summit community; safety, compassion and relationship building.”
Police Chaplain Dave Moore gave the invocation for the training facility dedication. Also on hand were Retired Police Chief Joe Piccinini; Lee’s Summit City Councilmembers Allan Gray, Rob Binney, Diane Forte and Trish Carlyle; Lee’s Summit Fire Chief Keith Martin; community leaders including Roby Little, Kim Fritchie, and Kathy Hofmann; and law enforcement officers from the Missouri Highway Patrol and the cities of Greenwood, Lake Lotawana, Grain Valley, Grandview, Liberty, and Independence; and executives from Treanor Architects and the general contractor Titan Construction.