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Partnership of METRO and HCC Yields State-of-the-Art Emergency Training Facility
Tuesday, December 11, 2007 5:46 PM  

METRO & HCC officials standing by giant checkWhile businesses forge joint ventures frequently to build on each other's strengths, it's still uncommon for public agencies in different industries to form partnerships.

But today at a press conference at Houston Community College's  Northeast campus, METRO formally presented $500,000 to HCC to invest in a state-of-the-art emergency training facility that includes a driving track, firing range, a training tower for SWAT teams and a burn building with hydraulically-controlled roofs.

 Officials holding the giant check above are (left to right): Frank J. Wilson, METRO's CEO/president; MPD Chief Tom Lambert, Dr. Margaret Ford, president of HCC Northeast College, Dr. Mary S. Spangler, HCC chancellor, and William M. Coats, president of HCC Foundation.

"I thought about what brings us together and what our nexus is - a community college and a transit agency. It became really obvious. HCC sells opportunity, and we sell mobility," said Frank J. Wilson, METRO's president and CEO. "You train them properly and get them ready, we'll get them there."

METRO's donation to HCC came from our capital budget and was approved last year by our board of directors. The partnership allows our police officers to train in a sophisticated campus without driving 30 miles outside of Houston to a firing range, for example.

Phase One of HCC's Public Safety Institute, already fully operating, features an indoor/outdoor firing range, built in a 25,000-square-foot facility with 20 lanes for firearms training.

Today's event gave reporters and photographers a chance to experience firing guns; to observe the heat, smoke and confusion firefighters encounter in a high rise; and to watch high-speed chases on an oval-shaped driving track with two cross streets and a skid pad.

I had a mini-lesson shooting a pistol for the first time. I aimed, gently squeezed the trigger, then screamed and jumped, unprepared for the force pushing the gun up. The training officer remained calm and quickly guided my arm down to stop me waving the gun around. The gunshot was frightfully deafening. But by my third shot, the bullet had hit the paper dummy squarely in the abdomen. Officer James Bacon instructs Joanne Wright, chief of staff, as she takes aim.

On the right, Officer James Bacon gives pointers to Joanne Wright, METRO's chief of staff. 

Dr. Margaret Ford, president of HCC Northeast College, said the public will be able to take various public safety classes at the center, along with MPD officers and students.

"This is a great opportunity for the city of Houston, in fact, to come here to this facility which will provide training that will help us ensure the safety and security of our community," said Ford.

MPD Chief Tom Lambert said today's event culminates planning HCC started 15 years ago to create a regional training force. He said it was tremendous "how we're leveraging public funds to serve the public in an enhanced...way, and we're not duplicating efforts."

With this cutting-edge facility, MPD officers will be able to use the fire arms range 24/7. A METRO bus will be set up to simulate real-life emergencies and training. A driving course will enable officers to maneuver skids and high-water locations.

MPD officers simulate a bus emergency"What it really allows us to do is hone our skills, so that any emergency that happens on the METRO system, we can respond to," said Lambert.

On the left, a METRO SWAT team responds to a mock emergency.

METRO's $500,000 donation to HCC allows us to use the complex over the next 20 years. It is the first time METRO has made a contribution to a public safety institution.

"Even though $500,000 sounds like a lot of money, the price is really right because we get access to all of this facility without paying the rest of the bill, which is in the millions," Wilson said after the press conference.

Phase 2 of HCC's Public Safety Institute will feature a pavilion near most rescue and field exercises; a 3,000-square-foot area for swift-water rescues; a fire station with three bays; classroom building; field house and running track; and a "skills village" for scenario-based training with a mock house, store-front bank and two-story building.

Wilson said METRO already has the best people in our police department.

"But with a tool like this, you can take a step to the next level, so the proficiency at work becomes much better," he explained. "Amateurs do it until they get it right. Professionals do it until they can't get it wrong. That's what this facility will enable us to do - become more of a professional, so we can't get it wrong."

All photos on this post were taken by Bob Parker of MPD.


Dominic Mazoch said:

Besides MPD, who else will use the facility?

# December 12, 2007 2:05 PM

Royko said:

What happened to the picture of Frank Wilson admiring the target he punched a few holes in?

# December 12, 2007 5:34 PM

Cedric Collins said:

"What happened to the picture of Frank Wilson admiring the target he punched a few holes in?"


# December 13, 2007 8:37 AM

Royko said:

Mr. Collins,

In METREAUX's typical ORWELLIAN fashion, a photo of Mr. Wilson was posted with the caption that he was admiring the results of his shooting skills.  Shortly thereafter, the photo was removed from the blog page.

----side bar comment--------

I have no problem with any American practicing with their "Second Amendment" tools.  I just have a problem with bureaucrats telling law-abiding citizens that they can not protect themselves.

Never trust a bureaucrat who doesn't trust citizens with our own guns.  I hope some have learned from history, repeatedly, "When Guns are Outlawed, only the Outlaws will have the Guns!"


The Houston Chronicle also, Ms. Sit's prior employer, was known to post one or more "secret memos', then remove them from the opinion page (I happened to download one in November of 2002) as well as rewrite stories, keeping the original file number.

This is not unlike the classic example in George Orwell's novel "1984"


chocorat - Chocolate ration. The chocolate ration in 1983 was 30 grams per week. (For comparison, a standard Hershey's Chocolate Bar is 43 grams) In the year 1984, the chocolate ration went up to 25 grams per week. Winston himself is charged with the task of re-writing history to make this little feat possible.

NOTE: The book differs slightly from the movie on this. In the book, the the ration was changed to 25 grams as well, but instead or changing history to say that it went up to 25, Winston simply altered the original 'no-reduction' pledge to state that the ration would have to come down in April.

# December 15, 2007 9:58 PM

better or worse? Metro said:

Where are the facilities?  

# December 20, 2007 9:48 PM
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