On a 44-acre complex all but hidden above two Los Angeles freeway, the Edward M. Davis training facility is where almost all aspects of police tactics – from driving to shooting to “verbal judo” – are taught to recruits, says the Los Angeles Times. The facility’s glassy main building, 4.4-mile vehicle track, firing ranges, and faux village that includes a bank, gas station, and coffee shop earned it the label “Disneyland for cops.”
“Their mock town is the most up-to-date one we’ve seen,” said Matthew Coolidge of the Center for Land Use Interpretation. Akin to a Hollywood set, the Situation-Simulation Village serves as a stage where recruits respond to crime scenarios and learn skills ranging from learning how to speak to suspects to escaping an ambush orchestrated from a rooftop. Wearing body armor, police recruits duck into alleyways and buildings and shoot each other with “simunition” rounds, paint-filled pellets the size of a pencil eraser head. “By looking at the stains, we can determine who shot whom how many times and go over mistakes with trainees later,” said one official. On the track, students negotiate sharp turns and elevation changes, drive through an inner-city grid, and learn to brake on wet pavement. The facility’s original cost was more than $29 million.