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Police training center moves forward

Police training center moves forward


Dec. 11, 2002
sdmoore (at)
A proposed training center for police academy cadets and veterans at Fort Ord jumped a major hurdle Tuesday when the county Board of Supervisors unanimously agreed to allocate a portion of the county’s limited water supply to the project.
The 300-acre center at Parker Flats on Fort Ord would expand Monterey Peninsula College’s current public safety training program.
Tuesday’s agreement is part of a land-use swap, allowing the college to move the training facility to Parker Flats and the county to build a proposed 1,400-unit subdivision at East Garrison.
For nearly two years, the county, the college and the Fort Ord Reuse Authority have been working to resolve potential land-use conflicts involving East Garrison and Parker Flats. The reuse authority allocated the county 560 acre feet of water for development at the former military base. The board agreed on Tuesday to give up to 52.5 acre feet of that allocation to the college for the training center. An acre foot is the amount of water necessary to cover a football field to the depth of one foot, and can serve about four families for a year.
Besides incidental uses such as bathrooms, the facility would provide water for live fire training and for showering tracks for defensive driving practice.
“It’s good,” said Mike Gilmartin, the college’s dean of Instruction, Occupational & Economic Development. “It’s something we’re really going to need.”
Monterey Peninsula College currently holds public safety training classes on campus for new recruits and continuing education for professionals. Police cadets must go off-site to Fort Ord to use firing ranges and to the Marina Municipal Airport to practice defensive driving.
Gilmartin says the space problem prevents the program from adequately serving the needs of hundreds of students and professionals.
The Peninsula’s two firing ranges at Laguna Seca and on Fort Ord are used by public safety agencies throughout the Central Coast and are often booked. The nearest public safety training center is in San Jose and serves the programs of several community colleges, including Hartnell College.
The proposed training facility at Parker Flats is believed to be the largest of its kind in the state and would incorporate a wide variety of training programs for police officers, firefighters, paramedics, corrections officers and park rangers, Gilmartin said. The center would be used by agencies from Monterey, San Benito and Santa Cruz counties.
“Logistically, it makes a lot more sense to have all your training in one location because it lowers costs,” said Gilmartin.
Monterey Peninsula College President Kirk Avery said the cost of the center has yet to be determined, as well as when it might be built. The site is still owned by the Army and contains unexploded ordnance.
Avery said more issues must be worked out before the center is built. The college, the reuse authority and the Army still need to hammer out the timing, cost and extent of ordnance removal. The width of fuel breaks for fire training also needs to be determined.
The college and the Bureau of Land Management also need to decide who will be responsible for managing the fragile habitat at Parker Flats.
Sylvia Moore can be reached at 646-4459

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