Is this an opportunity for cooperative cost savings?

Reading through this story about how Harris County is spending the public safety portion of its 2022 bond funds, I have a question.

New Harris County law enforcement facilities are one step closer to breaking ground after Commissioners Court earlier this week moved forward with a list of projects, including cutting-edge spaces for officers to train for high-water rescues and active shooter incidents.

The slate of projects is funded by a $1.2 billion bond package voters approved in November 2022 that earmarked $900 million for roads, $200 million for parks and $100 million for public safety. Now the county has completed a plan to spend the public safety dollars on projects that are expected to improve training for law enforcement agencies not only in Harris County but also around the region.


A $15.2 million precision driving course in the works as well. Though the Houston Police Department has trained on a driving course for decades, Harris County law enforcement agencies do not have a track to practice high-speed pursuits.

The facility where the county processes all vehicles used in crimes is slated for much-needed upgrades.

“It looks like a gas station out of the 1960s,” Lee said of the existing space.

The Sheriff’s Office firearms complex is getting a $3.2 million renovation. Though numerous law enforcement agencies rely on the facility for firearms training, the county never actually finished building it in the first place, Lee said, so the additional funding will allow completion of the project.

There are other items, including an active shooter training facility and a swift water training facility, both of which likely will be used to train officers from other agencies. I highlighted this one because of the mention that HPD already has its own precision driving course. Do both agencies need their own course? Maybe they do – they both have a lot of officers, who drive a lot of cars, and who presumably need a lot of this kind of training. But maybe they don’t? Maybe this is the sort of thing where the two can be combined and save some money? I hope someone is thinking about it.

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