LeaderKids Tour Bob Bolen Public Safety Complex

On Tuesday, January 11, LeaderKids toured the Bob Bolen Public Safety Complex, the largest training academy of its kind in the world. It’s named in honor of Bob Bolen, Mayor of Fort Worth 1982 –1991. The City of Fort Worth offers the use of its training facilities to other local fire and police departments, as well as elite forces such as Delta Force, FBI, and Texas Rangers.

Our hosts were Battalion Chief Ralph Diamond of the Fort Worth Fire Department, and Officer Jimmy Pollozani and Officer Buddy Calzada of the Fort Worth Police Department. Chief Diamond welcomed LeaderKids and encouraged them to “stay in the books” to develop their minds and cognitive skills and “stay in shape” to develop their bodies and physical skills. Whatever jobs might be in their future, and especially as firefighters and police officers, these are strategies for success. Chief Diamond has been with the FWFD for 22 years.

Public Information Officer Pollozani introduced himself and Officer Calzada. He asked LeaderKids to think about their dreams and goals for the future, and to set standards today to reach them. As a police officer he said it is never too early to learn respect for yourself, your family, friends, neighbors, classmates, and acquaintances. Officer Pollozani has been with the FWPD for 17 years.

Chief Diamond introduced 6 firefighters who graduated from the fire training academy that day. They demonstrated how to dress out of station gear into firefighting gear, including each piece of personal protective equipment. PPE covers them from head to toe, protecting from fire, smoke, chemicals, and extreme heat. The jackets are safe to 1000 degrees! They completed a training routine of climbing through a dark tunnel carrying the weight of their PPE as well as a fire hose filled with water. The new firefighters then demonstrated a training exercise to contain and extinguish a fire in an 8-story high rise building with a vehicle parked inside. The fire training center includes a 30,000 square-foot warehouse capable of simulating a variety of industrial, residential, and hazardous material scenarios. It has the 8-story high rise that was on the tour, a 2-story residential building, a dive training facility, a flashover survival training chamber, a simulated collapsed parking garage for urban search and rescue training, and an emergency vehicle driving course.

Officer Pollozani introduced LeaderKids to Sergeant Leary who manages training in a 30,000-square-foot indoor tactical training village, which LeaderKids toured. It simulates a city streetscape complete with a school, a bank, a residential building, a gas station, an office, and an apartment. The police training complex also contains a workout facility for physical training, and an indoor firing range with a 50-yard tactical range, 25-yard tactical range, 100-yard rifle range, and 25- yard range for individual weapons training. LeaderKids met Officer David Garcia who manages weapon training with a reality-based 360 degree visual simulation of a life-threatening encounter. He explained that a police officer under stress may experience black/white vision, tunnel vision, reduced hearing, reduced short-term memory, and other physical symptoms. Training allows them to cope with these limitations and respond to threats more effectively. LeaderKids also met a classroom of police academy students completing their 36-week training course.

The mission of the Fire Department is to serve and protect the community. The mission of the Police Department is to safeguard the lives and property of the community, reduce the threat and fear of crime, and enhance public safety. Both Departments work tirelessly to build trust with the community they serve. We thank them for their service and for a unique experience at their training academy.