ROCHESTER, Minn. (FOX 47) -- Law enforcement, fire and other public officials broke ground on the controversial new shooting range and public safety training facility in Rochester.
"It's little comfort to a grieving loved one that their daddy or mommy, cop or firefighter or EMS wasn't at fault when they died because after all we couldn't afford the training," said Former Olmsted County Sheriff Steve Borchardt.
For several years, the county has been seeking state funds for the $3 million project. It was secured through bonding bills that the county matched.
It took 14 years to go from an idea to the actual ground breaking.
"It's a complete game changer we have relied in the past on community partners to donate structures," said Chris Bailey, Battalion Chief with the Rochester Fire Department. "Now we have our own structure we can work on it anytime of year anytime of day and it's not just one fire department."
Alongside space for a live burn tower, weapon range and driving course will be a K9 facility.
"We try to train for the scenario that we're going to encounter on the streets so we put these dogs through a lot of training, but we also start with the core foundation training, you know, what we're expecting him to do," said Rochester police officer James Kenison.
Officer Kenison and his K9 Razor will train side by side in obstacle courses.
The area will allow a safe environment for all firefighters, law enforcement, students and other public works agencies across southeastern Minnesota to train in real-life disasters, giving them a fighting chance.
"We owe it to our responders to require of them a commitment to a demanding, rigorous, frequent training," said Borchardt. "We must teach and then we must demand efficiency."
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