KU News Release
April 12, 2012
Contact: Joe Monaco, Office of Public Affairs, 785-864-7100
Kansas Law Enforcement Training Center to host dedication ceremony for driver training facility
YODER — The Kansas Law Enforcement Training Center will name its new driver training facility in honor of Robert J. Senecal, dean emeritus at the University of Kansas, at a dedication ceremony at 10:30 a.m. Friday, April 20, on the KLETC campus.
The Robert J. Senecal Emergency Vehicle Operations Driver Training Facility includes a driver training course and two new buildings for classroom instruction and vehicle storage. The facility is situated on a 140-acre tract of land adjacent to the KLETC campus.
Senecal spent 32 years at KU, the last 21 as dean of Continuing Education, during which he oversaw administration of the KLETC as required by Kansas law. Senecal was a vocal advocate for the KLETC – the state’s headquarters for law enforcement training – and gained the respect of law enforcement officials statewide before retiring from KU in 2001.
KLETC Director Ed Pavey will emcee the dedication ceremony. Guest speakers include Mike O’Neal, speaker of the Kansas House of Representatives; Derek Schmidt, attorney general of the state of Kansas; and Jeffrey Vitter, KU Provost.
“Driver training is a core function of KLETC’s law enforcement training program,” Pavey said. “Our new Emergency Vehicle Operations Driver Training Facility will enable us to better train law enforcement personnel on driving techniques, which will help keep officers safe as they serve communities across the state. Robert Senecal was a great advocate for the KLETC in his time at KU, which is why it’s so fitting that this facility be named after him.”
The 1.78-mile emergency vehicle driver training course includes a vehicle skills course, a vehicle skid pad with water recovery system, and intersections and traffic control signals that enable officers to simulate real-world driving surfaces and conditions. The training course is mostly new, though it incorporates sections of leftover cement tarmac that’s been on the campus since the property was a naval station during World War II.
The two new buildings are the Classroom Training Building, which contains technology-equipped classrooms and a simulator training room, as well as the Vehicle Storage Facility, which will be used to store and maintain a fleet of driver training vehicles.
The driver training facility will train 300 officers each year in basic training and several hundred more in continuing education programs.
“It’s a state-of-the-art driver training complex,” Pavey said. “We feel fortunate to have been able to build it, and it’s going to both expand and improve our ability to train law enforcement officers to go out in the field and serve Kansans.”
The dedication ceremony will take place in the KLETC’s Integrity Auditorium. Guests will then be invited outside for a ribbon-cutting and tour of the new driver training course and two new buildings.
Dean Senecal and the KLETC
Established by the Kansas Legislature in 1968, the KLETC serves as the central headquarters for all law enforcement training in Kansas and is a unit of KU Continuing Education. The facility first moved into World War II-era naval air station facilities in 1969. While KLETC’s mission of training Kansas law enforcement officers continued to expand, the physical facilities remained substantially unchanged well into the 1980s. Under the leadership of Senecal and with the support he garnered from the Kansas law enforcement community and professional law enforcement associations, KLETC developed a master plan for the rehabilitation of existing facilities and construction of desperately needed new training and dormitory space.
Senecal’s 1986 master plan established the foundation for the construction of a gymnasium, locker rooms, restrooms and administrative offices, which were dedicated in 1991; two new classrooms and a conference/classroom completed in 1993; and a complete renovation of the firearms range with the addition of classroom, office space and range tower building completed in 1995. The last major improvement under the direction of Senecal was the addition of a new, four-story, 107-bed dormitory in 1997, followed by renovation of the instructor office building in 1998.
“Naming the Emergency Vehicle Operations Driver Training Facility in honor of Dean Senecal is an appropriate recognition of his contributions to KU and especially of his ongoing work to serve the law enforcement training needs of our state,” Pavey said. “He played an enormous role in helping the KLETC train officers that keep our Kansas communities safe. This driver training facility will be part of his lasting legacy.”
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