Facility upgrades mimic real-life scenarios for first responders
MAHWAH, N.J. – Bergen County Executive Jim Tedesco, the Board of County Commissioners, and the Bergen County Department of Law and Public Safety celebrated the completion of the County’s Law and Public Safety Institute Modernization Project on Tuesday, March 28th with a dedication ceremony and tour of the facility for local officials and first responders.
Breaking ground in June 2021, the LPSI modernization project was constructed in two-phases, the first of which was complete in October 2022 and features a two-story training mall and a new four-story training building equipped with nine propane simulators. The second phase, which is now complete, features a two-story mixed-use commercial and residential structure equipped with five additional fire simulators and a two-story residential structure with an attached garage to teach fire academy trainees how to respond to class-A fire materials.
The new structures will be able to create such training environments that mimic real-life scenarios for firefighters, police officers, and EMS workers. With ever changing public safety conditions, the LPSI will now be able to support regional cross-disciplinary trainings for all first responders to coordinate on threat scenarios including active shooter situations and large-scale fires.
“As a 47-year volunteer firefighter, I understand how important it is for our first responders to train in an environment that simulates real life scenarios,” said Bergen County Executive Jim Tedesco. “With the completion of the LPSI modernization project, first responders of every discipline will be able to do just that, by utilizing three new state-of-the-art training structures that mimic current development trends. Investments like this in our public safety apparatus highlight why Bergen County continues to rank as one of the safest places to live in the United States.”
“The completion of Bergen County's Law and Public Safety Institute modernization project solidifies our facility as one of the best in the country,” said Bergen County Commissioner Chairman Tom Sullivan. "These enhancements will help to prepare emergency responders by being able to practice real life situations in a controlled environment before experiencing those same situations in the field. We are proud to help provide a world class training facility to the brave men and women who are on the frontlines protecting our residents."
The modernization project which cost approximately $14.8 million, was designed by RSC Architects and built by Natoli Construction.
The dedication ceremony included the unveiling of Larry Rauch Boulevard, named after former Law and Public Safety Institute Safety Coordinator Larry Rauch who served in that role for over 18 years and dedicated much of his life to the fire service. A Navy Veteran, Rauch was a member of the Upper Saddle River Fire Department, first joining in 1970 and volunteered for 49 years, where he was elected Chief seven times, making him the longest serving Chief in department history. Rauch passed away in February 2021.
The dedication ceremony was attended by Bergen County Executive Jim Tedesco, County Commissioners Germaine Ortiz, Mary Amoroso, and Rafael Marte, Clerk John Hogan, Public Safety Director Ralph Rivera, Law and Public Safety Academy Director Rich Blohm, BCPO Chief of Detectives Jason Love, representatives from RSC Architects and Natoli Construction, and several local officials and first responders.
Photo Caption – Unveiling of the dedication plaque