Ocoee leaders move forward with proposed police training center | West Orange Times & Observer
The Ocoee City Commission authorized the City Manager to hire a consultant to evaluate an unsolicited proposal to build a police training center at its meeting on Tuesday, November 15.
The project, submitted by Fortress Secured, proposes a public-private partnership between the City of Ocoee and Fortress Secured to build the center. The facility would include a training range for police officers with outdoor and indoor areas available for developing different skills.
At the moment there is no approval to start construction. Instead, the city manager will start announcing the project to do an analysis on possible future proposals that will be sent to the city after the announcement of the project.
Regional agencies have already agreed that it would be a welcome addition to the West Orange region and that the range would be put to good use if built.
“We haven’t asked regional agencies to inject money into this lineup,” Deputy City Manager Craig Shadrix said. “We asked the regional agencies if they would use our range, as they would pay us instead of another installation. So, let’s just say for example, the town of Winter Garden. It’s much cheaper for them to come to us and pay the right price for training than to send their employees to southeast Orange County.
“Those are the conversations we’ve had so far,” he said. “We generally don’t address these issues until the commission has decided with certainty that they want to move forward, and that’s after the proposals have been considered.”
After debate, commissioners agreed that approval of the motion would be in the best interest of the city and unanimously approved the motion to hire a consultant to review the unsolicited proposal and project announcement for invite new proponents to submit further proposals.
The most controversial moments of the meeting came during the discussion of the restructuring of the city’s Human Relations Diversity Council.
Established in 2003, the council works to promote understanding, respect, goodwill, and equality among all residents and businesses in the Town of Ocoee.
After expressing concerns about the current state of the HRDB, the committee raised the idea of restructuring and revamping the board. However, this idea caused some disagreement among commission members – particularly between Commissioner George Oliver and Commissioner Rosemary Wilsen.
This disagreement arose after Oliver created and posted a video containing comments about Wilsen. “The release of this video insults me,” Wilsen said. “We are talking about revamping a board and not about me talking behind the scenes. It was insulting and lacking in precision. I’m ashamed of this video, and I’m ashamed that it was made right here. … (the reason we’re talking about this tonight) is to make our board sound and this advice I heard today was not sound.
“Being on a volunteer board should be fun; you should enjoy what you do,” she said. “I don’t think anyone was enjoying what they were doing (on the day of the board meeting). We want to make it healthy. We want to make it productive and we want our community to want access to (HRDB) functions.”
Oliver defended his position, adding, “I stand by my faith…I stand by what I said.”
In the end, the motion asking all elected officials to nominate members from their districts to have two board members per district and one representative from HighPoint Church, was approved 3-2, commissioners Larry Brinson and Oliver being dissenters.
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