SUWANEE -- The city of Suwanee will take the bow off of its latest project on Monday when it unveils its new police substation and training facility.
The facility, which the Suwanee Police Department has said is a long time coming, will feature a four-lane indoor firing range, training rooms with mats for defensive drills and classrooms with state-of-the-art technology like a SMART Board.
The one-story facility will be 7,100 square feet and cost about $1.99 million funded primarily through SPLOST. Groundbreaking and construction began in January.
The public is invited to the event from 4 to 7 p.m. on Monday at 2966 Lawrenceville-Suwanee Road. The grand opening ceremony will also include a tour and demonstrations. City and elected officials and other dignitaries are expected to attend.
Police Chief Mike Jones said the facility will only augment police presence around Interstate 85 as it's located on Lawrenceville-Suwanee Road near ramps to 85. Jones has said police presence around 85 caused a would-be bank robber to drive out of the area before he robbed a bank in North Carolina several years ago.
The officer who will notice the biggest day-to-day change is Sgt. Bryan Hickey, who is the department's training supervisor. Hickey has been the firearms and defensive tactics instructor since 2002.
"It's been a long time coming," Hickey said. "It's going to facilitate our training tremendously especially in those high liability areas."
Hickey said officers previously traveled to the Lawrenceville Police Department's outdoor firing range, and used Shadowbrook Baptist Church for defensive tactics training. But those facilities are not always available, Hickey said, especially to accommodate Suwanee's schedule, most notably officers working the overnight shift.
"That's going to take a lot of pressure off of us," SPD Capt. Clyde Byers said. "So we're not at the mercy of other agencies."
Added Jones, "Now a lot of the training can be done on duty. Take a slower day and take a couple officers today and spread it over a period of time."
Suwanee officers also previously traveled for training in places like Braselton and Jackson County. The new facility provides savings on overtime and expenses, and the opportunity to host other agencies for local training and certification.
The substation won't be staffed 24 hours per day, but city officials said it offers direct access to the police department's dispatcher, a safe zone for those in need, and work stations that can be used by officers on patrol to complete reports or meet with residents.