During 2000, Congress directed the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC) to locate suitable properties within the metropolitan Washington, D.C. area to be used for firearms requalification and pursuit driver training programs for area law enforcement officers. Subsequently, the former U.S. Naval Communications Detachment at Cheltenham, Maryland was located for this purpose and on May 10, 2001, GSA transferred the site to the Department of the Treasury, FLETC.
While serving as a U.S. Navy communications station from 1938 to 1998, the Naval Communications Detachment at Cheltenham, Maryland was a critical participant in several important events in US history, including the attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii and the 1962 Cuban missile crisis. FLETC Cheltenham carries on this rich tradition of serving our nation.
The National Capital Region is home to 60-plus federal law enforcement agencies along with several state and local agencies. These agencies have a critical need for in-service/requalification training, particularly firearms, driver and tactics training. In response to this identified need, Congress enacted Public Law 106-346 in 2000, which directed the Federal Law Enforcement Training Centers (FLETC) “to establish and operate a metropolitan area law enforcement training center.” The Office of Cheltenham Operations (OCH) began large-scale training in 2004 and has experienced significant growth since. The primary mission of the facility is to provide advanced and in-service firearms, driver and tactics training to approximately 20,000 officers and agents in the National Capital Region. The facility also serves the Washington, D.C., Metropolitan Police Department and state and local law enforcement agencies on a space-available basis.
The OCH is located 15 miles southeast of downtown Washington, D.C., on a 250-acre facility, formerly a U.S. Navy Communications Station, which the FLETC acquired on May 29, 2001. The OCH provides state-of-the-art training technologies; educational and conference facilities; multi-purpose classrooms for professional development, leadership and management training; as well as computer training labs. The site is also home to the United States Capitol Police Academy, the Pentagon Force Protection Agency Academy, and the Prince Georges County Fire Academy.
The OCH indoor firearms range offers 108 firing points divided among seven ranges. These ranges are enclosed in an environmentally safe 151,605-square-foot building, which includes a 100-yard range with 11 firing points. It is arguably the largest indoor range in the country. Adjacent to the indoor firing range is a tactical village that features several building complexes constructed using large shipping containers. The village also includes tactical training houses, classrooms, a cover and concealment course and a 100 x 50 foot indoor venue designed to conduct close quarters training such as active shooter/threat. These facilities are used for a variety of in-service and advanced tactical training programs.
The site is also the home of the FLETC’s first combined skills driving range where students learn law enforcement driving skills in a real-world environment. The combined distance 2.2 mile driving range is designed and laid out in two distinctly different driving environments. The eastern section of the range is referred to as the “urban grid” and the western portion being known as the “highway.” A few of the attributes included in the “urban grid” are functional traffic lights, legal road-signs, complex intersections, one-way streets, and multiple traffic lanes with grassy center medians. The “highway” side of the driving range boasts a long straight away, numerous types of wide sweeping turns, traffic lights, along with applicable legal street markings. All these features combined with the unique aspect of numerous elevation changes throughout both sides of the driving range, make it unrivaled when it comes to the ability to train for real-world emergency response and protective detail driving. The driver training facility also includes an irrigated skid pad and a non-emergency vehicle operations course, which can facilitate multiple students practicing the same training objectives at the same time, on three identical courses.
In June 2012, the renovation of the former Navy Headquarters Building was completed, adding a 24-person classroom and 24-person computer lab. This complex also includes a large training venue for infrastructure protection training.