Hoover officials break ground on police training center

By HEATHER JONES SKAGGS

Special to the Reporter

HOOVER – “Our city was built on public safety,” Hoover Mayor Frank Brocato said during a groundbreaking ceremony for a $4 million police training facility.

Hoover Police and city officials broke ground on the state-of-the-art center located on Municipal Drive next to Fire Station No. 4 on Wednesday, April 10. The facility will feature VirTra Systems, an advanced firearms simulator which provides the latest in public safety training.

“It’s some of the best training I’ve ever seen,” Hoover Police Chief Nick Derzis said. “What I love about this system is that it is the only system where someone is shooting back at you. It shows you where your hits are, where their hits are and how long it takes you to engage and respond. It makes for the best training to prepare for many scenarios.”

The 16,000-square-foot facility will also include the necessary space to train and equip officers, a designated defensive tactics training room, some classroom space and other technology.

“A well-trained police department is a good police department,” Derzis said. In the past, the Hoover Police Department has trained at the old Berry High School building, but after the building was sold to Vestavia Hills, officers had to train in various other areas or go out of state for some types of training.

“This is a big advance for the future of Hoover. This facility will enable the department to consolidate our training, keep our training local, and with a large enough facility it allows us to bring trainers in and do everything we want for our officers,” Derzis said.

Hoover’s new training facility is being named after Frank and Pam Barefield. Frank Barefield, chairman for Crime Stoppers of Metro Alabama and longtime supporter of the police department, pledged $250,000 toward the training center. The building will be named “The Frank and Pam Barefield Training Facility,” after Barefield and his late wife.

Derzis said they are looking for the training center to be completed in nine months and once complete, plan to make it available for other local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies.

“This will put us at the top,” he said. “The training center will be something that our citizens and our department will be proud of.”