Palm Beach Gardens PD unveils training facility

Palm Beach Gardens PD unveils training facility

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A $3 million police tactical training facility will now be home base for scenario-type training for Palm Beach Gardens police officers.

The department's new 10,000 square foot training facility puts officers on the road, in real life crisis intervention scenarios, and live-fire exercises, all through the use of simulators.

"We can recreate scenarios that occurred across the country and put out officers under high stress to practice what alternatives there are as opposed to just deadly force encounters," said Chief Stephen Stepp, Palm Beach Gardens Police Department.

The building's completion comes at a time when there's a spotlight on police officer training tactics. The facility's opening ceremony was bittersweet moment for Corey Jones' aunt and uncle. Corey was killed at the hands of a former Palm Beach Gardens Police Officer when his car broke down off I-95 in 2015.

"He's a part of us. I know he's here looking down," said Sheila Banks, Corey's aunt.

Corey's family has been a persistent advocate for more police training.

"We're expecting to be every step of the way with them," said Terry Banks, Corey's uncle.

Palm Beach Gardens Police Chief Stephen Stepp says his officers already train 80 to 100 hours a year. The facility will allow officers to enhance their skills and recognize opportunities for de-escalation. The goal is to shoot less, protect more. Chief Stepp also plans to partner with other local, state, and federal agencies to train together.

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