You’ve heard about it, you’ve read about it and by the end of this year you will be using the unique state-of-the-art facility to be known as the Tilman Fertitta Family Tactical Training Center at the HPD Police Academy.
Fertitta, chairman of the Houston Police Foundation, used his entrepreneurial skills to raise the $10 million needed for the construction of one of only a few training edifices of its kind in the United States. He personally contributed $2.5 million.
On Jan. 28, Fertitta put his shovel to the ground alongside Mayor Sylvester Turner and Police Chief Art Acevedo to displace the first dirt loosened to make way for construction expected to last through early- to mid-December.
“The Fertitta” will allow officers to train in every conceivable scenario that any officer might find himself or herself involved in.
Fertitta has been a long-time friend and steadfast advocate for Houston police officers, overseeing a fundraising foundation that pays close attention to no policing detail that’s too minute. His words expressed at the groundbreaking ceremony attest to this ongoing crusade.
“If there’s any time in this country that we needed a facility like this, it’s right now,” he said. “Since Columbine, it’s no longer we sit out there and try to figure out what’s going on in there, we attack immediately.”
The training facility will enable HPD trainers not only to recreate a Columbine scenario but other more basic yet equally dangerous encounters on the street or at any crime scene.
The tactical village has been years in the making. Thoughts about each and every detail – almost always based on real-life Houston police experiences – have gone into the creation and construction. A few years ago one academy training officer involved in the early planning, tongue in cheek, suggested, “Even the donuts will seem real by the time we finish staging our training events for cadets.”
The Fertitta village will consist of 44,000 square feet of two-story structures. Fertitta, Mayor Turner and Chief Acevedo guarantee Houston’s facility will not be like any other, including those in Fort Worth, New York City and Washington, D.C.
“We anticipate having the ribbon cutting in December,” HPD Foundation’s Charlene Floyd told the Badge & Gun.