Tennessee Governor Bill Lee recently celebrated the unveiling of the construction site for the Multi-Agency Law Enforcement Training Academy (MALETA) in Nashville, a center that aims to enhance law enforcement efficacy and reduce crime.
The $415 million project seeks to bolster the capabilities of law enforcement across the state by providing cutting-edge training facilities, housing, dining and administrative headquarters for various agencies, including the Tennessee Department of Correction and the Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security.
“As Americans face rising crime nationwide, Tennessee is equipping law enforcement with the tools needed to keep every community safe,” Lee said in a press release. “Unprecedented times call for unprecedented support. I’ve always said that every Tennessean deserves to feel safe in their community, and this shared facility will significantly enhance training and resources that law enforcement agencies need to deliver that quality of life.”
The MALETA campus is strategically designed to offer advanced training for law enforcement staff, foster increased collaboration and information sharing across agencies while allowing for significant cost savings in the process.
According to state officials, the campus will be capable of housing more than 400 cadets and 200 in-service personnel with flexible scheduling. Moreover, it will accommodate commuting employees and students who require daily training and classes.
Lee added that the new facility will bring significant upgrades to the old academy.
“I remember walking through those facilities and there were tiles missing, a 40-year-old bathroom and bunk rooms that I wouldn’t want to stay in. I got a vision that day, almost four and half years ago, that we needed to do something different in this state,” Lee said.
Situated on approximately 800 acres of state-owned property along the picturesque Cumberland River in the Cockrill Bend area, MALETA’s construction will be executed in three phases. Phase one is scheduled to commence by spring 2024, and the third and final phase will start in 2025.
Lieutenant Governor Randy McNally believes the facility will play a critical role in ensuring public safety.
“The safety of our citizens and the enforcement of our laws is our primary responsibility as a state government. This outstanding new campus will allow our law enforcement officers to be trained in a truly state-of-the-art facility,” McNally said. “The multi-agency nature of the MALETA campus will encourage collaboration between agencies and efficient use of taxpayer resources. Tennessee is one of the few states in the nation to invest in this type of shared law enforcement training campus facility,” he continued.
Tennessee House of Representatives Speaker Cameron Sexton echoed this sentiment, calling the groundbreaking a historic day.
“The Governor and the General Assembly partnered to provide a state-of-the-art law enforcement training facility for the professionals who protect and serve our communities and families every day,” Sexton commented.
In addition to the MALETA project, Lee and the General Assembly have invested in other areas of law enforcement, increasing funding for more than 200 additional Tennessee Highway Patrol trooper positions, allocating $60 million to support recruitment and retention bonuses, and providing $150 million for the Violent Crime Intervention Fund.
The state has also expanded efforts to recruit law enforcement personnel from across the nation to Tennessee, increased basic training and raised the frequency of training for new recruits.
MALETA’s state-of-the-art facilities will be utilized by various agencies — including the Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance (TDCI), Tennessee Law Enforcement Training Academy (TLETA), Peace Officer Standards and Training Commission (POST), Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security (TDOS), Tennessee Department of Correction (TDOC) and Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI) — to train local law enforcement, members of the Tennessee Highway Patrol and corrections officers.