K.O. Rayburn would have been proud.

Rayburn, a former Oklahoma State Trooper, died in 2000. And while it was his idea to form the Council on Law Enforcement Education and Training (CLEET), he may never have envisioned the state of the art police training facility in Ada that now bears his name.

Indeed, years ago when three dozen Oklahoma communities competed for the CLEET center, many here didn’t have a vision for it either, giving Ada’s chances of securing the $26.4 million prize as somewhere between slim and none. But that was then. Friday, CLEET officials were going through the arduous task of moving everything from their former digs in Oklahoma City to their current ones in Ada.

CLEET officials expect the Oklahoma City offices to close September 6, with services available at the Ada facility that same day.

Jim Tillison, CLEET general counsel, said even though the differences between the old training center’s 8,000 square feet in Oklahoma City and the 120,000 square foot one in Ada are striking, one thing is still the same – family atmosphere among its employees.

“That’s one of the things I like about CLEET – family atmosphere,” Tillison said. “There are so few of us and we work closely with each other. We all have a passion for providing law enforcement training and this serves as a bond among us. It’s a great environment to work,” he said.

Tillison said of CLEET’s approximate 30 full time employees, 18 have moved to the Ada area.

Beginning Sept. 18, 120 police trainees from all over the Sooner State will converge for their first class at the center, including two from Ada. Only Oklahoma City, Tulsa and Norman train their own officers. Tillison said State Troopers have their own academy and the Oklahoma Department of Corrections does its own training.

“We also regulate private security guards in Oklahoma,” Tillison said.

The facility’s 356 acres on Egypt Rd. house classrooms, dormitories, a dining area, two shooting ranges, a driving course, a mock trial courtroom, a “crime scene house,” and a CSI training lab, to name a few.

Tillison said Oklahoma CLEET officials painstakingly visited many other states’ training centers and gleaned the best ideas from each to incorporate into Ada’s. One such idea is a classroom where trainees observe through two-way mirrors as actors play out a crime and police response in a separate, soundproof room. This allows the instructor to critique the action in the classroom while not disrupting the action on the other side of the glass, he said.

CLEET’s Council is expected to decide on an official public grand opening date at its Sept. 21 meeting.

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