Five years since the Oct. 1, 2017, shooting at the Route 91 Harvest festival in Las Vegas claimed 58 lives — and two more after that night — officers with the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department (LVMPD) can receive reality-based training at a new $35 million facility.
The LVMPD Foundation, which raises money for the police department, has so far garnered $29 million in donations for the $35 million, reality-based training facility, which is set to be completed by the end of next year.
“The training facility is being built to address both the need for collective responses to incidents like the Country Music Festival shooting on 1 October, 2017, as well as to provide training for the police department and ultimately other law enforcement agencies so that they can better respond to incidents that require deescalation, self-defense and other types of responses — in particular to active shooter situations,” LVMPD Foundation Executive Director Tom Kovach told Fox News Digital.
The planning for the training center, from an idea standpoint and a conceptual standpoint, however, began prior to the 2017 shooting, Kovach said.
The first stage of construction for the center has been completed, while the second stage is ongoing.
“The first building, which is completed and operational — that building contains the administrative functions for the training center,” Kovach explained. Trainings are designed, scheduled and built out between sessions.
In that building, which is larger than 50,000 square feet, there are “classrooms for classroom-based training” and “mat rooms for physical training, de-escalation training, self-defense training and so forth.” There is also a simulation room that “allows different scenarios to be projected on the walls. ” That room “is broken up into smaller spaces to resemble an apartment or other types of spaces that our officers will get called to in response to an incident,” Kovach said.
Thousands of officers have already experienced training — including reality-based training, advanced officer skills training, and bleed training — in the first building. Up to 30 students can be trained at once in the first building.
In an example of a reality-based scenario, Kovach said officers might drive to the first building as if they were responding to an incident in real life. Once they exit their vehicle, they will enter the building and act out a scenario in which someone plays the role of a victim, someone plays the role of a perpetrator, and officers determine how they would respond in an active situation.
The second building, which will be over 130,000 square feet once complete, will include indoor, climate-controlled rooms designed to look like real-life convenience stores, casinos, hotel rooms, a school, a gym, a doctor’s office, a restaurant and other settings where active-shooter situations, as well as a number of other personal and citizen-defense incidents, may occur.
The goal is to teach officers how to properly respond to high-intensity scenarios in a way that saves as many civilian and officer lives as possible.
While reality-based training centers are not new for police, the LVMPD Foundation’s center is a first-of-its-kind in terms of scale and functionality, Kovach said.