The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department has announced the opening of the De-Escalation Training Facility at its academy.

The facility is the first of its kind in the Southeast, and will aid in continuing de-escalation training efforts for officers that will enhance communication skills and increase opportunities for better outcomes through real-life scenarios, according to the CMPD. 

"CMPD officers have already addressed more than 7,500 calls for service this year that involved shots being fired, armed individuals and other violent crime reports such as armed robberies and homicides," said CMPD Chief Johnny Jennings.

"This state-of-the-art training facility will serve to continue honing our skills so that lives can be saved. This effort would not have been possible without the FBI and the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Foundation, so I am very thankful for these incredible partnerships that helped bring this new facility to fruition and allows us to continue serving the Charlotte-Mecklenburg community at the highest level," Jennings added.

During their training in the CMPD academy, recruits participate in more than 60 hours of training directly related to de-escalation. Following the academy, all officers receive annual training specifically for de-escalation.

The new De-escalation Training Center is a two-story, 3,400 square-foot structure with modular and remote-controllable capabilities that allow the structure to create unique scenarios for each student. Technology was also leveraged to enhance the training experience. Twenty-eight cameras feed into a viewing room to enable instructors to have a comprehensive view of the facility. An auxiliary room with audio and video capabilities can seat up to 50 students to watch in real-time as they learn alongside their peers.

This facility is the only one of its kind between San Marcos, Texas, and the Washington, D.C. area, and is also one of the few law-enforcement, multi-story de-escalation training facility structures in the entire country, CMPD says. 

The construction of this new facility was funded in partnership with The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Foundation ($500,000), and the Federal Bureau of Investigation ($1 million). The total cost of the project was $2.4 million.