SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) –– After 5 years in the works, the Public Safety Campus opened its doors.
“When I got in office. It wasn’t but two or three months that both chiefs came to me and said we need to give you a tour of our training facilities, and they were woefully inadequate. And so from that point forward, I made it a priority in my administration to say we need to figure out how to get this done,” says Mayor Paul Tenhaken.
The previous campus had served them well, but it was time for an upgrade.
“It was built before I was born. I believe it’s 1978. And again, sometimes I think, investments in public safety or government investments and services that have to be made at some point and the longer you wait, sometimes, the more it costs. This was an update that was long overdue and I’m just thankful that the city council and the mayor’s office thought it was a priority,” says Police Chief Jon Thum.
“The scenarios that first responders have to be prepared for today didn’t exist in ’78. We have to be prepared for first-person shooting situations. We have to be prepared for multi-story buildings that we have in our community, all those things that we didn’t have 25 years ago,” says TenHaken.
It will host training for different first responders, as well as the 9-1-1 call center.
“New Metro communication dispatch center was in great need of an upgrade and I think, you walk through and see it, it’s arguably one of the most impressive things about this facility that you wouldn’t say that for computers and monitors but it really is impressive,” says Thum.
Another thing they did was name the street signs after their fallen first responders, to remind those who train here of their service.
“Because it will continue to reinforce to our cadets and people training out here, why they’re doing the danger of the job but also the responsibility and the calling of the job,” says TenHaken.
Thum says he’s grateful for the community support.
“In 2020 a lot of things were being defunded, and this was not in a lot of people’s minds. Our community said no, this is something we want to support,” says Thum.
In the future, they aim to host regional and national training events for first responders at the center.