Chief Dyer was all smiles as he prepared to be the first target of a chase at the new training center. Seconds later, Mayor Swearengin was in hot pursuit.
From inside the chase car, the pursuit looks controlled. But the speed is deceptive, and the training is critical for police officers learning challenging maneuvers like the pit, where they spin out a suspect's car. That's how the mayor eventually stopped the chief.
"We were going about 45 miles per hour and usually they go about 60 miles per hour," said Swearengin. "But [it's a] great, great facility, great opportunity to train and I think we got one locked away now."
At another end of the facility, SWAT officers rappelled down a specially designed building, practicing an explosive entry to end a standoff.
In the middle of the training complex is a sniper tower. It's four stories high and lets SWAT officers simulate an attack where they can take aim down a range that's 200 yards long.
Several shooting ranges are spread across the 78-acre facility, giving officers realistic training in most of the high-stress situations they'll face.
"We will never know the lives that we save," said Chief Dyer. "We will never know the injuries that we prevent to officers and citizens alike as a result of this facility."
The city does know the money it saved leading up to this ribbon cutting. The entire facility cost less than $13 million to build, using recycled materials in the classrooms, and taking advantage of slow times in the construction industry.
The National Guard, Fresno City College, and other police agencies will also use the complex, helping the city foot the bill going forward.