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Old Colonie homes get new life as training structures

The homes will be set up near each other to resemble a residential neighborhood, complete with stop signs and typical traffic props that one would see in a real neighborhood.

The houses will also be filled with props, including real furniture, books and items that would be found in a real home to create a real-life experience for those training in them. Police will be able to train on instances where a makeshift drug lab is set up in the kitchen, Lattanzio said, and forensics teams will be able to train with blood splatters on the walls (red paint would be used, Lattanzio said).

SWAT teams and police dogs will also be able to train in the facilities.

"Training and travel for training is almost non-existent in our budgets," said Colonie Police Chief Steven Heider, who said repetitive training is what helps emergency services personnel learn how to save lives best.

Heider also pointed out that in cases of natural disaster, emergency services personnel have been criticized for their response.

"Criticism has come that people didn't know how to respond," he said.

Reilly praised McEneny for crossing over to another district and seeing the need for such a service in Colonie, before explaining how much the project will help the emergency services personnel in learning how to do their jobs better.

"It will not only help us save properties," he said. "It will help us save lives."

Reilly described the new facility as a "regional facility," explaining that it will benefit departments across the area.

"Now the town will have a state-of-the-art training facility whose benefits extend far, far beyond the Town of Colonie," Mahan said.

She noted that the Municipal Training Facility has helped departments train for over 180,000 hours over the past four years.

Lattanzio said the town would probably be breaking ground and moving the homes in the winter, when the ground is frozen and easier to cut, and that hopefully the new addition to the facility will be open by next spring.

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