The Last Word: Mayor Eric Johnson on New Law Enforcement Training Center Coming to UNT Dallas

“If Dallas is going to be the safest big city in America, our officers and recruits must receive leading-edge law enforcement instruction.”

Eric Johnson
City of Dallas
.…on the new law enforcement training center coming to UNT Dallas.

The University of North Texas at Dallas and the city of Dallas have announced a $10 million grant from the Communities Foundation of Texas toward the new law enforcement training center coming to the university’s campus. Once built, it will become the new home of the Dallas Police Training Academy.

The grant from CFT’s W.W. Caruth, Jr. Fund will “significantly advance” the design and construction process of the new police academy and represents the largest philanthropic contribution to UNT Dallas in the university’s history.

Additional funding for the center includes $20 million committed by the Texas legislature in the 2023 legislative session. The city of Dallas plans to include $50 million for the training center in this year’s bond package that city residents will vote on.

Construction for the project is scheduled to begin in 2025 and be completed in 2027. At that time, the Dallas Police Department’s Police Academy will move from its current home in a rented industrial space in the Red Bird area of southern Dallas—a location that was intended to be temporary when it opened way back in 1990.

Dallas Police Chief Eddie Garcia speaking at an event for the planned new law enforcement training center at UNT Dallas [Photo: UNT Dallas]

By locating the Dallas Police Training Academy on the UNT Dallas campus, the DPD will become the largest police department with an officer training facility on the campus of a four-year university, UNT noted.

“The priority of the men and women of the Dallas Police Department is to protect and serve our great city, and their training facility should reflect the importance of that commitment,” Dallas Chief of Police Eddie Garcia said in a statement. “The new training center at UNT Dallas is a gamer-changer not only for the development of our recruits, but also for future hiring, and retention for the Dallas Police Department.”

The center is slated be located on a five-acre section of the 268-acre UNT Dallas campus, with an adjacent park shared by the training center and the university. It will feature classrooms, a gym and workout facilities, and virtual reality training technology for law enforcement personnel at all levels.

“I can’t overstate the significance of the gift from CFT and the far-reaching impact it will have,” Bob Mong, President of UNT Dallas, said in a statement. “The innovative, state-of-the-art facility will serve multiple law enforcement and public safety agencies in North Texas and beyond. It will be a national model for instruction and training in 21st century policing philosophies and techniques.”

New recruits, in-service officers, rising supervisors, civilian employees, and law enforcement leaders from across the state will gain valuable and actionable knowledge, skills and insight, ultimately improving public safety, UNT Dallas said.

When completed, the collaboration-focused center will also be the new home of the Caruth Police Institute at UNT Dallas (CPI), a leading voice in complex research, policy, and leadership development for police across North Texas and across the state. CPI was launched in 2008 through a partnership between the Dallas Police Department and UNT Dallas, and was initially founded with a $9.5 million grant from CFT. 

““When Communities Foundation of Texas invested in CPI fifteen years ago, it represented a first-of-its-kind partnership among academia, philanthropy, and law enforcement,” said Wayne White, President and CEO of Communities Foundation of Texas. “The training center at UNT Dallas will build on this legacy of interdisciplinary understanding and collaboration, that’s why we are so excited to invest in this at such an early stage.”

“CFT has a long history of supporting community-driven approaches to public safety, including both responsive and preventative measures,” White added. “Over time, this work will play a critical role in increasing public safety across North Texas and is directly aligned with our vision of a thriving and safe community.”

For more of who said what about all things North Texas, check out Every Last Word.

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