BRTC Law Enforcement Training Academy Barracks
At Black River Technical College, one facility sorely needed is a training barracks for the Law Enforcement Training Academy (LETA) cadets. Currently, cadets are sent to BRTC from all over the state of Arkansas. In many cases, expecting students to travel to and from home every day after class is not feasible. Therefore, students must reside in facilities provided by the college. Because no on-campus facilities exist to house cadets, local hotels are rented for the semester at a great cost.
Benefits of Barracks
The following list of pros and cons better illustrate why the barracks will be useful to BRTC’s Law Enforcement Training Academy.
- Barracks would allow for stabilizing housing costs. If local hotels raised our rates $10 per person per day, it would cause dire financial problems for LETA, resulting in slashing the number of officers allowable for each class.
- Barracks would allow BRTC to control cadets’ after hours activities such as visiting local clubs, unauthorized visitors, etc.
- Barracks would allow group activities and training to occur after regular hours. Currently, many students drive home at night and are unavailable for evening activities.
- Barracks would allow specialized training for officers who live long distances away. Housing specialized training students for additional classes at any time during the year would mean very little in additional housing costs.
- Students often must run back and forth to hotel for items forgotten. Barracks would alleviate that issue.
- Monitoring students who are ill is difficult when they are off campus.
- Barracks would enable all students to remain as a group. Currently, students who drive back and forth in order to save money miss out on group activities and bonding.
- Some departments do not use BRTC because we do not have a barracks.
- Soon it will become necessary to add a third academy per year. Barracks will greatly reduce the cost of adding the third academy.
Elements of the Barracks
The following list of items identify the proposed features of the barracks.
- 30 rooms, double occupancy, no TVs)
- 5 instructor rooms, single occupancy with TVs and private bath
- 1 “309” room, double occupancy
- One shower and toilet area between each of the two rooms to be shared by 4 officers
- Day room, lounge with comfortable seating and a television
- Intercom system
- A hotel-style secure card access with record system
- Video security in common areas
- DI hut at entrance area which is a station for the Officer in Charge
- Laundry room
- 2 classrooms: computer, forensics
- Each room would have two twin beds, two desks with lights, and two armoires
- Secure ammo and weapons storage room
- Earthquake/storm resistant construction
- Emergency generator
- Ice machine
- Controlled WIFI for internet classes
Despite the many past and potential natural disasters, Randolph County does not have a safe room for the community. As an emergency management training center and as an integral part of the county activity, Black River Technical College is an ideal location to create a safe room.
Placing a safe room on a college campus is no new idea nor is designing a safe room to architecturally be used for other purposes. The list below identifies a number of multipurpose safe rooms:
- ASU Mid-South, 34,650 square-foot safe room designed as a gymnasium with expandable bleachers, concessions, and locker rooms with a training room, laundry room, classrooms and offices which can hold approximately 700 people. The connected weather warning system automatically unlocks doors and turns on the facilities’ lights when the weather alarm sounds.
- Vilonia Primary School, 4,567-square-foot safe room designed as 3 classrooms which can hold 700 students. It was built to withstand winds up to 250 mph and enable future growth. The generator system will automatically unlock the doors if tornado sirens sound after school hours.
Why a Safe Room at Black River Technical College, Pocahontas?
BRTC is the hub of a number of college and community gatherings which draw residents of the surrounding counties including Clay, Lawrence, and Randolph. In fact, many Lawrence and Randolph County Chamber of Commerce annual events are held at the college’s Randolph County Development Center, the only community center in Pocahontas.
- Agri Appreciation Expo, hosting more than 450 attendees
- Business Expo & Job Fair & Health Fair, hosting more than 200 attendees in 2018
- Community health fairs such as the BRTC Health Fair which brings in more than 400 attendees
- High school student tours of the campus and competitions
- Cultural events such as Black History Month speakers and Holocaust Survivor Series speakers which bring in up to more than 1400 school children, community members, and college students
- BRTC graduations bring in more than 700 attendees at a time
- Local school proms, baccalaureates, and other school events
- Red Cross Blood drives
- City and county elections
Proposed Safe Room Facility Functions
The proposed $4.5 million community safe facility will serve in all of the following capacities:
- Barracks for cadets during police academy sessions;
- Community outreach space during health and wellness events;
- Disaster response training and center;
- A safe room for displaced residents during disasters; and
- The Randolph County FEMA Disaster Response Command Center.