FORT WAYNE, Ind, (Indiana's NewsCenter) --- Is it time for Indiana's college system to take the baton in training the state's first responders?
That's the opinion of the Homeland Security director for Allen County.
It’s a pertinent topic, since Fort Wayne’s Public Safety Academy is about to go undergo a transformation.
The building in a few short months will be occupied by a lot of students.
It was the subject of a big announcement on Friday.
Ivy Tech will become the chief tenant of the public safety academy, using the site for criminal justice programs and other kinds of degree offerings.
In 2007, the safety academy opened.
Former Mayor Graham Richard envisioned that regional communities would pay to have their police, fire and EMS personnel trained at the facility.
That model never really took off, partly because the recession cut off cash local governments might have used for training purposes.
But Allen County Homeland Security Director Bernie Beier says Graham Richard didn't really misfire in starting the academy.
Beier says with federal money drying up, we may need to look to schools to become our top option for first responder training.
Bernie Beier/AC Homeland Security Director: " It won't be a one size fits all. It'll be unique to each community, and I think what we saw with the announcement of Ivy Tech last week was maybe in the State of Indiana, that we've recognized the role that the state college system plays to sustain what was put in place by federal dollars."
Beier says he does not foresee safety concerns for students when they co-mingle with law enforcement personnel.
That’s because he says the safety academy does not house more intense police operations, which would see a high traffic of criminal suspects and uniformed officers.
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