FLETC Battling Sequestration
Director says center is thriving despite federal spending cutsBrunswick, GA Jun 26, 2013
By MICHAEL HALL The Brunswick News
The Federal Law Enforcement Training Center expects the facility in Glynn County to continue to thrive despite the most recent string of federal spending cuts.
Connie Patrick told the Brunswick-Golden Isles Chamber of Commerce membership luncheon Tuesday the training center has the capacity to remain the principal training facility for all federal law enforcement programs under the Homeland Security Department.
The center could also begin seeing more trainees from the Department of Justice and the Department of State, Patrick said during a speech at the center.
Since 2001, more than $672 million has been spent on renovating or
constructing new buildings to use for teaching agents of the more than
80 agencies that train there, Patrick said.
"It was our vision that we would never have to say 'no' when asked if we had the capacity to train," Patrick said. "The answer is, 'yes.' We have the capacity. We can do it."
That space may be needed soon if Congress passes an immigration reform bill that could add about 20,000 new U.S. Customs and Border Patrol agents, roughly doubling the size of the agency.
Patrick said investments made during the past 12 years have built an infrastructure that is ready for more students. "Whatever happens, whatever they decide, all the new law enforcement personnel will come through FLETC," Patrick said.
If the immigration bill is passed and doubles the agency's size, many of the new trainees will go through the FLETC facility at Artesia, N.M. Others would be sent to the Glynn County campus.
That will be key in maintaining the annual $330 million economic impact the training center has on Glynn County, an impact that could change as the current round of federal spending cuts has started to affect contracts the facility has with private companies.
Patrick said she and her administrative staff are working to ensure those contracts are reworked to fit the new budget outlook and have a minimal impact on jobs here. "We have done everything we can to protect jobs," she said.
Following Patrick's address, chamber members toured a new training facility on the campus designed to simulate city and suburban areas in which federal law enforcement officers could find themselves in the field.
The area is known as Danis City, named for Navy Cmdr. Anthony L. Danis, first commanding officer of the first airship squadron stationed at what was Naval Air Station Glynco, now the site of FLETC.
"Like the blimps from Glynco Naval Air Station, the Danis City complex will also support national security by providing an even more realistic range of environments where students will test their knowledge of the tactics they have learned," Patrick said.
The mock urban area includes a federal building, shops, apartments and a use-of-force complex. The mini-shopping area includes a cafe, liquor store, bank, post office and grocery store, while the suburban portions include seven homes, a trailer park, mini-storage, tavern and a tactical training facility.
* Reporter Michael Hall writes about public safety, environment and other local topics. Contact him at email@example.com, on Facebook or at 265-8320, ext. 320.