WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — The Haynes / Lacewell Police and Fire Training Facility celebrated its grand opening on Monday.
The 9.1 million dollar structure includes a 100 yard indoor shooting range, a defensive driving simulator, a use-of-force simulator for de-escalation tactics, a place for K-9 officers to train, and more.
Over 30,000 square feet–the building will accommodate both agencies as well as be available for the public to use as a meeting space.
Wilmington Police public affairs officer Linda Thompson says this space is a huge upgrade.
“We were literally in an attic area,” Thompson said. “In a condemned looking third floor space where our officers were surrounded by asbestos and a number of other things.”
Thompson says it will make it much easier for officers to get adequate training.
“We don’t just serve and protect, we train to serve and protect,” she said.
In turn, she says the citizens will benefit as well.
“We want to make sure our officers have the best training possible in order to give our citizens the best protection possible,” Thompson said.
The building is named in honor of pioneers from both departments. Police Sergeant Edward Haynes and Fire Captain Eric Lacewell.
Both families were present for the ribbon cutting. Lacewell’s family says it’s an honor to see his name live on forever.
“Our kids can come here, our grandkids can come here,” Captain Lacewell’s nephew Tyrone Brown said. “This building’s always gonna say Lacewell.”
Finally seeing the name on the building was special..
“Now to see it in the finished product is just feels good,” Captain Lacewell’s son Eric Lacewell Jr. said.
The facility has officially opened, but the training calendar will be in full swing starting at the beginning of the year.