Brownsville Enters Contract with Texas DPS for new Joint Tactical Training Facility
Feature Photo (above): The fleet yard of the Brownsville Police Department. Image: Google Streets.
by Adolfo Pesquera
Brownsville (Cameron County) — The Brownsville City Commission has entered into an interlocal cooperation contract with the Texas Department of Public Safety for the development of a Joint Tactical Training Facility.
DPS approached the city of Brownsville earlier this year about constructing a training facility due to the state agency’s need for such a facility in the Rio Grande Valley.
The Joint Tactical Training Facility is intended to be for the use of DPS, the Brownsville Police Department, Texas military forces, county and municipal law enforcement agencies and other law enforcement, including those of the federal government.
The interlocal agreement was approved without discussion during a March 19 session of the City Commission.
The state Legislature gave DPS funding in the 84th and 85th sessions for the purpose of developing a training facility in Cameron County. DPS has in place an agreement with the Texas Facilities Commission to provide a master plan through a professional service provider (PSP), the agreement states.
For its part, the city of Brownsville agrees to provide approximately 96 acres of property located at the northwest intersection of Southmost Boulevard and South Indiana Avenue. That site is south of the Brownsville/South Padre Island International Airport, near the Rio Grande.
The city owns about 161 acres at that location. A very small portion of that terrain–it is mostly undeveloped brush land near the coast–is used by the Brownsville P.D. as a shooting range.
The proposed site for a Brownsville P.D./DPS Joint Tactical Training Facility would be on land where the city of Brownsville currently operates a shooting range. Image: Google Earth/Graphics by Adolfo Pesquera.
DPS and Brownsville will work through the Texas Facilities Commission’s PSP to develop a master plan for development of the Tactical Training Facility.
The final design and construction phases depend on the master plan and funding. However, the parties agree that the final design “may include pistol and rifle ranges, an administrative and training building with a pavilion, restrooms, classrooms, offices, and an office for DPS’s exclusive use,” the agreement states.
Funding will not be allocated until DPS and Brownsville agree on the master plan, and the city agrees to waive all required permits, inspections and plan review fees. Brownsville will also provide all utilities to the facility.
Upon its completion, Brownsville will be responsible for the general maintenance of the grounds and security. The parties agree to share the cost for major repairs.
No estimated cost for the training facility is mentioned in the agreement. However, in a separate Interagency Cooperation Contract between DPS and the TFC dated August 2017, a Cameron County-based training facility is described that has a cap of $2 million. This agreement was entered into after the second of the two funding allotments from Legislature Sessions 84 and 85.
The scope of services in that contract describe “a master plan study of a 2,500 acre site to serve the purpose of a tactical training center. TFC will coordinate project activities with the DPS Facilities Bureau.”
The contract between DPS and TFC was to be effective until May 31, 2018, “unless extended by separate written amendment.”
Adolfo Pesquera (Reporter/Editor) is a veteran news journalist. He has worked for Hearst Corp., American Lawyer Media, News Corp and Freedom Communications. His work has been published in newspapers and magazines across the USA. He is a journalism graduate of UT-RGV. He writes, edits and creates digital pages for VBX.