Current plans for a new $95M Chicago public safety training facility.
 - Photo: City of Chicago

Current plans for a new $95M Chicago public safety training facility.

Photo: City of Chicago

After touring Chicago's current police academy and seeing recruits apprehending mock suspects in a dark hallway, Mayor Lori Lightfoot came away more convinced than ever that replacing the academy is essential to improve police training, reports the Chicago Sun-Times.

The planned $95 million police and fire training academy in West Garfield Park that critics called a symbol of Rahm Emanuel’s misplaced spending priorities is a done deal, but needs to be made bigger, better and, undoubtedly, more expensive, Lightfoot said Tuesday.

Lightfoot said she is not at all certain the two-building campus to be built at 4301 W. Chicago Ave. on 30.4 acres—land that has stood stubbornly vacant for decades—is adequate to house a training facility that will be “best-in-class”—not just when it opens, but for decades afterward.

“I don’t know that it’s big enough. I don’t know that the plans, particularly on the fire [department] side, are gonna provide them with the different kind of training scenarios that they need,” the mayor told reporters outside the current facility. "If we’re gonna make that kind of investment, I want to get it right," she said. "I want it to be the best-in-class training facility for first-responders anywhere in the country."

Lightfoot refused to say how much the facility she envisions will cost, except to say it will be a whole lot more than $95 million.

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