OTAY MESA, Calif. (KGTV) - First Responders used to train in the parking lot of Qualcomm Stadium, but with that option gone, they needed a new place to go. A one-of-a-kind type of facility was built in Otay Mesa.
First Responders spend most of their time on the road, whether it's by motorcycle or car, which is why the state-required behind-the-wheel training is key. And now they have one facility where they can get all of that done.
The Emergency Vehicle Operations Center (EVOC) is a 40-acre facility that features three venues, a track and an area that simulates driving and parking in a city block environment. They also have a "skills pad" that allows them to practice necessary skills like quick lane changes or driving in reverse, skills they need to know and often use while on the job.
Deputy Steven Curran from the San Diego County Sheriff's Department says in the future, they're looking to allow civilians to use the property for events where car shows can be held or legal car races.
The income generated from that can go towards maintenance and repairs needs at the facility. But, there's also the safety factor.
"Being able to do it safely here means a controlled environment," he said. "We don't have to worry about people who don't know what's happening here. We don't have to worry about people driving in the middle of what you're trying to do, whether it's training or laps around the track."
The price tag to build this facility was more than $32 million and was partly paid for by the City of San Diego and Miramar College.