“It became one of those things that I was determined to get involved in and make it happen,” Fertitta said at the center’s Nov. 19 ribbon cutting ceremony.
The $10 million Tilman Family Tactical Training Center allows officers to train in simulations of various scenarios, such as active shooter and hostage events, within replicas of Houston neighborhoods. It was originally proposed by former Police Chief Charles McClelland.
As chair of the board of the Houston Police Foundation, Fertitta spearheaded the fundraising push for the center at the Houston Police Training Academy at 17,000 Aldine Westfield Road, Houston.
The foundation solicits private donations and grants for various initiatives, including purchasing protective gear and sponsoring mounted patrol and K-9 units.
Fertitta donated the first $2.5 million contribution to the campaign; that donation was followed by donations from other key organizations, such as the Houston Astros Foundation, The Hildebrand Foundation and The Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo.
Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo welcomed the investment in his remarks Nov. 19, stating that it represents a departure from a larger national narrative focused on diverting funds away from police departments.
“At a time when the political environment in this county is about defunding police—'cut the police'—we are blessed to live in a city where we are led [by] Mayor Sylvester Turner and a council that supports him and understands that what the people of the city of Houston want is not less policing. They don’t want defunding the police; they want better policing,” Acevedo said.