February 10, 2011
Flint Hills Resources’ Pine Bend refinery hosted 200 training sessions for law enforcement and public safety officers at its training facility in Rosemount in 2010. This set a facility record for the number of training sessions held in one year.
Fifty local, state and federal agencies sent thousands of their officers and canines there in 2010 to be trained in mock situations ranging from bomb threats to hazardous materials to search and rescue. For more than a decade, Flint Hills Resources has provided use of the comprehensive training center at no charge to law enforcement, fire, rescue, military, and government agencies.
Volunteer Harry Wickhorst, a Flint Hills Resources employee and former law enforcement officer, established the training program utilizing buildings and grounds on the site of the Pine Bend refinery. On his own time, Wickhorst has made indoor and outdoor improvements to the facility. Recent upgrades include an obstacle course, canine course, and mock duplex and apartment units. Flint Hills has provided funds to help make continued improvements and ensure that the facility remains free of charge. In 2010, free use of the facility amounted to an estimated $100,000 in savings in rental fees alone for the visiting agencies.
The versatility of the Flint Hills Resources Training Facility enables a wide variety of agencies to train there. Some of the regular local users include the Eagan, Apple Valley, Saint Paul, and Minneapolis police departments; the Dakota, Rice and Goodhue county sheriff’s offices; and the Eagan Fire Department. A few of the other agencies training at the facility in 2010 were the FBI, U.S. Civil Air Patrol, and Minnesota State Patrol.
“The facility offers the ideal environment for us to train because we are able to set up different types of scenarios within one building,” said Minneapolis Police Sergeant Dave Clifford. “By providing these first-rate facilities to us, Flint Hills is truly making the community a better and safer place.”
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