The live fire shoot house is a part of the new $2.3 million training center that is expected to be complete by June, and is now under construction next to the Cherokee County Detention Center on Chattin Drive in Canton.
“I always wanted my legacy to be better training for our officers,” said Sheriff Roger Garrison, who has announced he will not seek another term in 2016. “This training center allows us to take it to a new level.”
In the wake of the Newtown, Conn., school shooting, the Colorado theater massacre and the Arizona shootings, Garrison is pleased his deputies and police officers from all cities in Cherokee County will have the new training center to hone their law enforcement skills.
“The new center will make it possible to use live ammunition, placing officers under realistic stress situations,” Garrison said.
The training center will house the 6,600-square-foot shoot house, which can be configured interiorly as a school room, home, or other settings and handle live rifle and pistol shooting.
The center will also have 11,000 square feet of classroom space and additional sections for other training purposes.
A new firing range will be behind the building when completed.
Garrison said his department was able to secure funding through Cherokee County’s latest Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax to break ground early this year on the training facility that will be called Georgia Public Safety Training Center Cherokee and house a regional police academy.
“As we began this process, we were approached by Tim Bearden, director of Georgia Public Safety Training, about using the facility for a regional training site,” Garrison said. “I’m very excited about our partnership with the state.”
The state is expected to contribute about $700,000 toward the total cost.
Chief Deputy Vic West said two of the facility’s classrooms will be designated for the police academy while the others will be used for defensive training, including floor exercises and practicing handcuffing and batons.
The facility will also house about eight offices for Cherokee instructors and three for those with the state.
“The state approached us last year when realized we were building a training center and asked if we could build space for them,” West said.
West said the facility will provide another option for deputies who might otherwise attend Cobb or Dalton police academies.
Presently, the sheriff’s office shares training rooms with Cherokee County Fire and Emergency Services, where they have been housed for about the last 10 years. The only other available training facility is the 25-yard firing range across the street.
“This would give us the needed classroom space,” West said. “We conduct a lot of training — 40 hours each year for officers — and host other specialized training. It would give us the space to not have to send folks somewhere else to train.”
Enclosed in a large metal fabricated building, the shoot house will also have a raised walkway for instructors to watch deputies as they perform training.
Additionally, the facility will house a four-story tower to train officers on how to clear stairwells, perform repelling exercises and long-distance firearms training with patrol rifles and long guns.
“It should be a training center we’re all very proud of,” West said. “And not just for us. All deputies that come here to train will be able to benefit.”