After years of planning and collaboration, The University of North Texas at Dallas (UNT Dallas) and the City of Dallas today announced a generous $10 million grant from Communities Foundation of Texas (CFT) towards the new Law Enforcement Training Center at UNT Dallas. The grant from CFT’s W.W. Caruth, Jr. Fund will significantly advance the design and construction process of the new police academy and represents the largest philanthropic contribution to UNT Dallas in the university’s history.
“If Dallas is going to be the safest big city in America, our officers and recruits must receive leading edge law enforcement instruction,” said City of Dallas Mayor Eric L. Johnson. “This significant investment from Communities Foundation of Texas will allow us to take our already recognized and sought after training to new levels.”
In addition to CFT’s $10 million grant, the state legislature committed $20 million to the project in the 2023 legislative session, and the City of Dallas plans to include $50 million for the training center in this year’s bond package that will be voted on by Dallas citizens.
This video shows what the new center will look like, conditions at the current academy, and why the need is urgent.
The new state-of-the-art law enforcement training facility at the UNT Dallas campus presents an unparalleled opportunity to reimagine the officer training experience by creating a space tailor-made for police training and embedding it into an institution of higher learning that provides space for community, personal wellness, personal development, and continuing education for all officers. By locating the Dallas Police Training Academy on the UNT Dallas Campus, Dallas Police will become the largest police department with an officer training facility on the campus of a four-year university.
“I can’t overstate the significance of the gift from CFT and the far-reaching impact it will have,” said Bob Mong, President of UNT Dallas. “The innovative, state-of-the-art facility will serve multiple law enforcement and public safety agencies in North Texas and beyond. It will be a national model for instruction and training in 21st-century policing philosophies and techniques.”
Plans call for the center to be located on a five-acre section of the 268-acre UNT Dallas campus, with an adjacent park shared by the training center and the university. It includes classrooms, a gym and workout facilities, and virtual reality training technology for law enforcement personnel at all levels. New recruits, in-service officers, rising supervisors, civilian employees and law enforcement leaders from across the state will gain valuable and actionable knowledge, skills and insight, ultimately improving public safety. Community feedback was also solicited and has been integral to initial planning.
“The priority of the men and women of the Dallas Police Department is to protect and serve our great city, and their training facility should reflect the importance of that commitment,” said Dallas Chief of Police Eddie Garcia. “The new training center at UNT Dallas is a gamer-changer not only for the development of our recruits, but also for future hiring, and retention for the Dallas Police Department.”
Designed for collaboration, the center will also be the new home of the Caruth Police Institute at UNT Dallas (CPI), a leading voice in complex research, policy, and leadership development for police across North Texas and across the state. Deepening this relationship in this new collaborative environment will make law enforcement across our region stronger and more effective and will position them as national leaders in innovative and evidenced-based policing strategies. CPI was established in 2008 through an innovative partnership between the Dallas Police Department and UNT Dallas. CPI was initially founded with a $9.5 million grant from CFT.
“When Communities Foundation of Texas invested in CPI fifteen years ago, it represented a first-of-its-kind partnership among academia, philanthropy, and law enforcement,” said Wayne White, President and CEO of Communities Foundation of Texas. “The training center at UNT Dallas will build on this legacy of interdisciplinary understanding and collaboration, that’s why we are so excited to invest in this at such an early stage,” White continued. “CFT has a long history of supporting community-driven approaches to public safety, including both responsive and preventative measures. Over time, this work will play a critical role in increasing public safety across North Texas and is directly aligned with our vision of a thriving and safe community.”
Under the current plan, construction would begin in 2025 and be completed in 2027. The Dallas Police Department’s Police Academy will move from its current home in a rented industrial space in the Red Bird area of southern Dallas, which was meant to be only temporary when it opened in 1990.