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Spokane County, Fairchild cut ribbon on new training center

The new law enforcement training center on Spokane's West Plains will serve as a resource for Spokane County and Air Force personnel.
Courtesy of Spokane County
The new law enforcement training center on Spokane's West Plains will serve as a resource for Spokane County and Air Force personnel.

Spokane County and the United States Air Force have opened a new regional law enforcement training center on the West Plains.

The facility is a joint effort between the county and Fairchild Air Force Base. Officers from both agencies will use it for a variety of training purposes, from shooting and special weapons to K-9 handling, says Spokane Valley Senator — and former district court judge — Mike Padden, who spoke at Thursday's ribbon cutting ceremony.

“This training is going to result in, I think, better law enforcement officers, more public safety for the citizens and for the law enforcement officers themselves," he said. "For example, they will probably receive training on the safest way to take down a suspect, that would result in the least amount of injury to the suspect and to them.”

Padden says the facility is one of several new law enforcement training facilities around the state. For years, the state has had only one place to train officers, in Burien, in the Puget Sound area.

“Say there’s a young woman who wants to go into law enforcement, might have children at home. Do they want to go to Burien and spend three months over there or would they rather be doing it here in Spokane? I think it will help in recruitment, but quality of the training should be fantastic," he said.

Padden says the center could also be a draw for other policing agencies, such as the FBI, that are looking for new training options.

Spokane County officials say the cost of building the center was about $41 million, $26 million from the county and $15 million from the Air Force, mostly for the small arms firing range.

One of the Northwest's most seasoned reporters is returning to his SPR roots. Doug Nadvornick will be heard frequently on KPBX and KSFC reporting on local news.