Joliet eyes training center for police and fire

City manager tells council of vision for regional training facility

City Manager Jim Capparelli listens to council discussion on Tuesday, May 18, 2021, at Joliet City Hall in Joliet, Ill. The Joliet City Council discussed an amendment to allow for liquor consumption and video gambling at gas stations.

Joliet officials hope to create a regional training center for police and firefighters.

City Manager James Capparelli provided the Joliet City Council some details about the plan at a Monday workshop meeting.

“We’re trying to set up a regional training center,” Capparelli told the council “We’d like to add a shooting range and complete training center.”

On Tuesday, the city council approved Capparelli’s proposal to expand the job of Emergency Services Disaster Agency coordinator to add the title of training facilities coordinator

Capparelli said the expanded duties are part of a plan to develop a regional training center.

The proposal creates a new full-time administration job out of what formerly were part-time duties in the fire department where an officer would take on the role as ESDA coordinator. Capparelli did not provide the potential salary for the new position but said half of it would be covered by federal grant money.

The council was not asked to vote on future development of a training center. And Capparelli did not provide any details on how much it would cost to develop and operate a training center.

But, he said the city has land for such a facility provided by NorthPoint Development, which is developing the Third Coast Intermodal Hub logistics park on the south end of the city.

“We currently have some property that NorthPoint has granted us, and we’d like to take advantage of that,” he told the council.

Capparelli said the center could help the city quicken the pace of training needed to bring new police officers into Joliet. Staffing in the police department has lagged behind what the city has budgeted for police personnel as the city has tried to expand the department for the past two years.

Specialized training facilities for firefighters would be part of the center, too, he said.

“This is something DuPage County has,” Capparelli told the council. “We’re going to try to emulate some of it here.”