New dormitories at FLETC facilities in Brunswick and Artesia will save federal law enforcement agencies millions of dollars annually in housing and transportation costs.
That was the conclusion of budgetwriters for the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center when seeking $40.9 million in funding for additional dorms for the two centers in the Fiscal Year 2020 budget.
The savings will be even more significant between now and the next five to 10 years, when the student population is expected to increase at both.
Land preparation and construction of prefabricated dorm facilities for 450 students at Glynco and 300 at Artesia will begin in the federal government’s new fiscal year, which begins Oct. 1.
In the budget request, FLETC noted the average daily student population in FY 2018 was 2,600, a number which frequently approached and occasionally exceeded 3,000.
It had estimated an average daily population of close to 3,500 in FY 2019 and FY 2020 and anticipates demand to remain at high levels for at least the next decade.
The high influx of students compelled it to shift training programs to Artesia, which is running out of dorm space. It also noted the lack of off-center housing in the Artesia area.
Artesia is 40 miles south of Roswell, N.M.
The 100 partnering federal agencies that train at the bases save a large amount of money on lodging and transportation costs when their students can be housed on campus, which is not always possible during peak enrollment times. They have to rely on area hotels to handle the overflow.
According to FLETC, it’s nightly rate for on-center lodging is $27.32. That’s far lower than the nightly rates negotiated with hotels in the area for students, which range from $55 to $148 per room nightly. In FY 2017, it cost the federal government $7.6 million to house students in hotels, an amount that jumped to $11 million just one year later.
FLETC estimates its partner organizations will save around $9.6 million in off-center accommodations annually once the new dorms are ready for occupancy.
They also will save on transportation, which costs around $109,000 monthly in FY 2018. That amounted to $1.3 million for the 12-month period, an increase of $654,000 over the previous fiscal year.
Buses transport students to and from FLETC and the hotels where they are quartered. Budgetwriters noted in their request for dorm funding that the travel distance from Glynco is sometimes a trip of 75 miles, depending on the availability of hotel rooms and the center’s needs.
New dorms will cut transportation costs by as much as 50 percent, FLETC projects.
Reducing its dependency on off-center housing has been a goal of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks for security reasons.
FLETC trains on average some 60,000 law enforcement officers annually at its facilities in Glynco, Artesia, Charleston, S.C., and Cheltenham, Md. The largest facility land-wise is Artesia at 3,620 acres, followed by Glynco at 1,600 acres, Cheltenham at 250 acres and Charleston at 200 acres.
The number of law enforcement personnel trained each year can fluctuate. In 2018, FLETC facilities trained 73,816 law enforcement officers and agents.
The combined federal law enforcement training program, celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, includes 1,200 federal employees and an average of 1,866 contract employees.