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Highway patrol breaks ground on Havana test track

Last week, the Florida Highway Patrol broke ground on its Advanced Vehicle Operations and Training Complex at the Florida Public Safety Institute in Havana.

The complex, which features a 1.4-mile high-speed driving track, will allow law enforcement officers to enhance their driving skills and experience emergency operations in a safe, controlled environment under the guidance of qualified instructors.

“I am incredibly proud to break ground on the Advanced Vehicle Operations and Training Complex. The support for this new, innovative complex is a testament to the state’s commitment to law enforcement officer safety and the safety of motorists on our roadways,” said Terry Rhodes, executive director of the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles. “This new facility enhances training for law enforcement by providing real-world scenarios, best preparing our troopers and officers to safely navigate the events they will undoubtedly experience as they work to protect us each day.”

Havana’s new test track will also be a boon to the military. Florida National Guard Brigadier Gen. Paul Chauncey joined Florida Highway Patrol Col. Gene Spaulding at the groundbreaking to formalize their partnership to construct the complex.

“The complex will offer advanced training to include traffic incident management, high speed driving and comprehensive vehicle operations to improve public safety,” said Col. Spaulding, director of the Florida Highway Patrol. “This project is possible due to the collaborative efforts of many different organizations, including the Florida National Guard, which truly stepped up to make this project a reality.”

“This collaboration brings the opportunity not only to provide a state-of-the-art training facility for the Florida Highway Patrol, but an opportunity for our soldiers and our airmen exercise their skillsets and leave an enduring mark on the state,” added Brigadier Gen. Chauncey, Florida Army National Guard Assistant Adjutant General (Training, Installations and Programs).

The Florida Highway Patrol plans to expand the complex in the future to institute emerging best practices based on intelligence-led training and national trends that affect law enforcement officers and the public. This project encompasses approximately 100 acres of land on the southeast portion of the Florida Public Safety Institute.

Driving continues to be one of the single most important actions that troopers perform on a daily basis, as they patrol nearly 32 million miles annually, a Highway Patrol spokesperson said.

Special to The Herald

After extensive planning and preparation, the Florida Highway Patrol finally broke ground last week on its Advanced Vehicle Operations and Training Complex near Havana.­­ Photos courtesy Florida Highway Patrol