Old Dorm Brings New Training for Feds - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Old Dorm Brings New Training for Feds

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Dedication ceremony Wednesday. Dedication ceremony Wednesday.
Each room can show them real situations they could face. Each room can show them real situations they could face.

GLYNN COUNTY, GA (WTOC) - Federal agents who'll serve around the country have some new one-of-a-kind classrooms in Glynn County. The Federal Law Enforcement Training Center, or FLETC, spent months preparing them to look like anything but a school. They'll resemble the places they might see every day in the line of duty.

At the dedication ceremony Wednesday, New York color guard of flags and bagpipes set the tone for Building 76's new mission. Counterterrorism instructors couldn't be more excited about the revamped office space that was originally dormitories when the campus was a Navy base.

"I think I speak for the rest of the instructors, the possibilities are endless," instructor James Mowatt said excitedly. "The situations we can run students through will have a realism we couldn't do 20 or 30 years ago."

He'll take his soon-to-be federal agents into motel rooms, a restaurant, even a courtroom, all under one roof. Each room can show them real situations they could face. Just like in the movies, they could be in a restaurant when someone tried to kill a federal witness in their custody. Since September 11, instructors have asked students to think out of the box and ask themselves, "What if?"

They can learn to fingerprint a crime scene in one room, take apart a meth lab in another and protect a judge and jury down the hall. FLETC director Connie Patrick says they saved money by using space they already had.

"I got an estimate of what it would have cost to build this from scratch and it would have been upward of $40 million. It actually cost less than $10 million," she explained.

Inside, an iron beam from the World Trade Center reminds students of their mission to look for anyway that anyone could attack and find a way to stop them before they can.

The new counter terrorism facility includes 88,000 feet of training space. Agents from 80 different federal agencies train in Glynn County.

Reported by Dal Cannady, dcannady@wtoc.com 

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