Revenue Ideas For Public Safety Training Centers

Given the realities of funding the operation of a full-service public safety training center, can be challenging. Interact Business Group has identified several examples of how police or fire training center managers can become “entrepreneurial” in their approach to funding their training center.

Although current revenue models may be working well for traditional college credit and degree programs geared toward an academic student population, those strategies might not be sufficient to support the additional funding necessary to operate a facility that caters to an entirely different audience such as policeman, firefighters or volunteers. For example, many public safety agencies often prefer to conduct their training very early in the morning, late at night, or on weekends.

Revenue Generating Examples

Following are several examples of ways to generate revenue or reduce operating costs at a public safety training center.

  1. Offer a wide range of basic courses geared toward meeting the specific needs of the region and that match your training centers unique facilities, perhaps large classrooms or a large open drill ground. For example Leadership Classes such as:
      1. Strategies & Tactics
      2. Health & Safety Officer
      3. Training Officer Seminars
      4. Large scale events (many participates) gatherings. Such as 5K races, or other community events.
  2. Consider renting your facility to agencies that may have complementary training curriculums. For example you may currently be holding hazardous materials training and trench rescue. Private companies or government agencies may have similar training needs. Think: high raise construction, building inspection, truck fleets with drivers training needs.
    1. Utility company’s
    2. Construction company’s
    3. Hospitals
    4. Trucking fleets
  3. Form a partnership with a state or national organization such as the Leadership Program from the International Chiefs of Police (IACP) or the Company Officers program from the International Fire Chiefs (IFC). Typically, these are one-day seminars geared towards leadership. In most cases the classes may be offered for free however a small “facility use fee” say $20 to $30 per attendee would be reasonable.
  4. Offer classes that stress training of a particular skill or “how to” classes to operate equipment. Students may attend the class at no charge however the class may be sponsored by the vendor whose equipment is being used or demonstrated. Vendors may sponsor a breakfast, lunch, or afternoon break food to reduce costs of the event.
  5. Provide full food services on site for a fee. This added benefit to attendees is quite helpful for attracting participants; they appreciate the convenience of being able to eat at the facility rather than having to go off site for their meals.
  6. If you have a regional or county training center consider different levels of fee structure. For example, establish different rates (training course and facility rental) for in-county and out-of-county agencies, or another fee structure for private industry

These are but a few ways police and fire training center managers have found ways to generate revenue for their facilities.

Any Other Ideas That Are Working For You, Let Us Know

Do you have any examples? Please share what you are doing with others in the Leave A Reply box below.


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Training Center Money; More Than One Color

When considering funding for a new public safety training facility there are at least TWO colors of money: money for construction and money for operations. Both are important, but many times the latter is the color overlooked or misunderstood.

Today I will discuss the latter. What will it cost to operate your training center on an annual basis? This is often difficult for departments to determine. For example, how many staff members or sub-contractors are needed to keep a training center operational and running efficiently? What are the estimated yearly expenses for necessities such as electricity, water, janitorial services, maintenance and other elements necessary for a smooth-running operation? Or more specifically, what are the true costs of fuel for the live-burn fire props or the cost to run the air ventilation system at the indoor shooting range?

Fire and Police Training Dollars

New Police and Fire Training Trends Emerge

Over the past couple of years I have seen several newly constructed training centers that were built with taxpayer approved bond initiatives or projects that received CIP approval prior to the 2008 economic downturn that are now facing great budget challenges for monthly and annual operations expenses. In these cases money for construction was the easy part. Now faced with budget cutbacks and layoffs, departments are faced with finding creative ways of maintaining training mandates and at the same time trying to pay the utility bills, and keep training equipment operational. We have helped training center managers re-think and modify their daily operational activities and policies. There is no one solution or “silver bullet” that can be applied to all training center sustainability challenges.  As with most things it comes down to hard work and commitment. Based on a national perspective, I see some key trends emerging. Coninue reading:

Economic News and Its Impact on Public Safety

The economic news coming from cities and counties nationwide is abysmal. With the nation in a deep recession since 2007, some say even larger budget cuts are now reaching public safety agencies. It seems that only one year ago these daily headlines were unheard of: Budget Cuts Reach Public Safety, Fire Department Copes With Budget Cuts And Staff Shortages or Fire Department Cancels Recruit Academy. But today, these and similar headlines are common. Here in San Diego, Police Chief William Lansdowne is predicting a loss of more than 100 sworn officers. As reported in the USA Today, nearly 70% of police agencies have cut back or eliminated training programs this year as part of local government budget reductions (according to a survey this fall of 608 agencies by the Police Executive Research Forum).

Looking for Ways to Reduce Police and Fire Department Costs

Last month the Public Safety Training e-Newsletter featured an article from the Fresno Fire Department outlining their plan to replace sworn training staff with civilian instructors. Since the Fresno article was broadcast in mid-September many newsletter readers have told me similar stories regarding changes to their training departments. Simply doing more with less is the new mantra and it appears to have become the “new normal.”  I have spoken to major metropolitan agencies and small rural training departments — all are looking (most forced) to find more efficient ways to deliver training. Apparently even in hard times new visions and ideas can still emerge. Some of the ideas are really exciting and in some cases “out of the box,” such as: consolidation of multiple department training exercises, distance learning technologies, collaboration with community college programs, live podcast training classes, and merging of intra governmental department training classes.

DHS Guidance Released Preparedness Grants

Grant DollarsSecretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano released the fiscal year 2011 grant guidance and application kits for 12 U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) grant programs totaling $2.1 billion to assist states, urban areas, tribal and territorial governments, nonprofit agencies and the private sector in strengthening the nation’s ability to prevent, protect, respond to and recover from terrorist attacks, major disasters and other emergencies. In fiscal 2011, DHS grants were reduced by $780 million from the fiscal 2010 enacted level, nearly one-quarter of fiscal 2010 DHS grant funding.

Continue to read…

This article reprinted by permission of:
Emergency Management

Police Fire Facility Cost and Funding Benefit Analysis

Here’s something to think about:

These are difficult funding times, as everyone is aware.  If I’m an elected official, a Mayor, Councilperson or County Commissioner, I must ask the question:

  • “Why should I support the Public Safety Facility project?”

You must be prepared with a strong response, to answer this question—and make no mistake—this question will be asked.  If the project is in competition with other projects across the city and this is usually the case.  Ask yourself three questions:

  1. “What must I do to make my Project stand out?”

  2. “What need does it solve?”

  3.  “How do I prove it?”

You must be prepared with a strong response, to answer this question—and make no mistake—this question will be asked. Here are several example of what I mean;

  • Are you renting existing facilities to conduct training classes?  This is a Hard Cost that could be saved by having your own facility.

  • How much time are you spending driving to other centers?

  • What are your overhead costs associated with having to drive to other facilities?

  • Look at your vehicle driving / accident records.  How many accidents have you had?  Documented studies have shown at more drivers training leads to few accidents.

  •  Would your insurance premiums benefit from a strong, safe, driving consistent driving program?

  • Think about Partner with other fire agencies, or, with other law enforcement agencies across the country. Partnerships are certainly a growing trend across the country.

I have spoken about the value of Partnerships in past video casts

When considering Cost Benefits… Keep one thing in mind:

Funding is competition!

Many other departments and project are competing for the same dollar.

You have to beat your competition.  In order to do so, you must have a strong, well thought, well-document Strategic Plan. I’m Bill Booth, and this has been something to think about for a new facility design.

Providing a strong Cost Benefit Analysis is a critical element in the funding battle.

In the following 3 minute video I address this issue in some detail.

Police, Fire Budgets, Not a Pretty Picture

I dont want to come off as Mr. Negative but Reading the WSJ On-line article really stuck a cord with me. Everyday I speak with police and fire departments and usually its about money and budgets. This daily back and forth has given me a front roll seat on the front lines of the local municipality budget crisis. After nearly 30 years involvement in the world of public safety I have not seen things this bad. In many cases, forget about replacing retirements with new recruits. Departments are, in many cases, not all, just not hiring. As a way to cut budgets, staff is being reduced by attrition. I have not seen many actual layoffs of police and fireman, that still seems to be viewed as the very last resort. As the months move-on this will be an interesting trend to watch. Budget deficits constitute real money meaning this is money that is really owed. Just like your personal credit card, you borrowed the money and the bank wants it back! I do not know how the budget crisis is going to end. I think is a solid bet that it will not end soon and it will not be pretty.
“States Face New Pinch as Stimulus Ebbs”