The East Texas Council of Governments (ETCOG) and the Office of the Governor, Criminal Justice Division, are proud to announce the award of $200,000 in grant funding to Kilgore College.
These grant funds will be used to resurface and repair KC's East Texas Police Academy (ETPA) driving track used by regional peace officers, fire fighters and ambulance drivers for emergency vehicle operations training.
As one of only four driving tracks for police training in the state, the track (located at the Winfred J. Spear Training Center in Rusk County) is used by the ETPA to equip first-responders in the surrounding 24-county area with the safe driving tactics needed to serve the public.
In addition, nearly every jurisdiction within the 24 counties uses the track for supplemental driving skills training, as needs dictate.
The ETPA is the premiere training center for law enforcement students in East Texas and has been administered by KC, through contract with ETCOG, since 1970.
The driving track has been in service for almost 30 years and needs major repairs. Local officials recently requested ETCOG's assistance with this project. ETCOG staff subsequently contacted the Governor's Office to request assistance to help address this important need on behalf of our law enforcement community, and the governor graciously agreed to help.
"I am extremely grateful for Governor Abbott's willingness to help accomplish this important project," said ETCOG Executive Director David Cleveland. "Our peace officers deserve to receive the very best training and support we can possibly give them and this repair project certainly demonstrates his ongoing commitment to that objective."
"This project will allow East Texas to continue to offer top-notch training for our peace officers," said Gregg County Judge Bill Stoudt. "As Chairman of the East Texas Council of Governments' Board of Directors, I am grateful for the governor's generous contribution to our region and I am pleased that it will directly benefit both our first responders and the public."
Total estimated cost for repairs to the driving track is $200,000. ETCOG will contribute $125,000 in regional public safety funds and the Governor's Office will contribute $75,000. KC will manage the repair project.
“I am very excited about the opportunities this funding will allow us to pursue in expanding our training capabilities, all while increasing the safety of our students," said Joe Cassin, ETPA director. "This grant funding will help us continue to provide the highest quality Police Emergency Driver Improvement training to the region's law enforcement officers for decades to come."
For more information, please contact ETCOG's Executive Director, David Cleveland, at 903-218-6423.
The East Texas Council of Governments (ETCOG) is a voluntary association of counties, cities, school districts and special districts within the fourteen-county East Texas region. ETCOG assists local governments in planning for common needs, cooperating for mutual benefit and coordinating for sound regional development. Established in 1970, ETCOG, either directly, or through its contractors, provides programs and services for East Texas seniors, employers, and job seekers. ETCOG and its contractors also build the 9-1-1 emergency call delivery system, provide peace officer training and homeland security planning services, deliver rural transportation services, business finance programs, and environmental grant funding for the region.