Training Ethical and Highly-Skilled Public Servants

Sheriff's Academy
Dallas County
Dallas, TX

The Dallas County Sheriff’s Academy is a 27,000 SF ground-up facility that serves as the training grounds for both sworn peace officers and cadets in the County’s academy. The Dallas County Sheriff’s Department, Constables, County Jailers and Parkland Hospital System Police Department all utilize this academy as the training ground for their initial and continuing education needs. Dallas County also provides training to other area law enforcement agencies on tuition-based, inter-local agreements.

The $6.38 million academy is located on the southern end of a 12-acre campus which is also home to the new KAI-designed South Dallas Government Center. The facility includes three 50-seat terraced seating lecture halls with instructor observation rooms immediately adjacent. Classrooms are equipped with digital technology to provide for multi-sensory instruction. The progression of the cadets through the academy is thoughtful and integrated into the design of the facility to help foster the outcome of producing well-trained, highly-skilled, and ethical public servants. The academy is also equipped with one large 100-seat multi-purpose classroom that can be subdivided into two rooms with fifty seats in each. Assembly spaces, open offices and conference rooms are all equipped with upper-room ultraviolet (UV) germicidal irradiation systems to assist in disinfecting and killing viral, bacterial, and fungal organisms.

The Sheriff’s Academy houses an on-site computer lab meeting the standards as required for testing certifying agencies, and all administrative functions of the academy are located within one dedicated suite. Men’s and women’s shower/ locker rooms as well as single occupancy gender neutral locker rooms were provided to address the needs of all. The full department has access to a state-of-the-art 2,000 SF gymnasium complete with free weights, cardiovascular machines, and an open area for tactile training. Other amenities include roll-up doors opening out to an open lawn area for cross-fit training as well as a walk/ jog trail encompassing the full perimeter of the building utilized by both the academy and public.

The old facility was in an isolated area adjacent to several county and state correctional facilities, housed within a windowless, pre-engineered metal building that did not meet the short- or long-term needs of the academy. The new facility also serves as a recruitment tool for new cadets into the law enforcement pathway. Moving the academy into public view provides some degree of natural exposure, while also actively serving as an active outreach tool for engagement, retention and recruitment.


Architecture, Interior Design, Building Information Modeling, Mechanical Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Plumbing Engineering, Construction Administration, Programming, Planning, Fire Protection Engineering

The Impact

Providing opportunities for minorities

Minority participation on the project exceeded all goals through use of a 100% minority-owned finance firm (SIR Capital), African American-owned design firm (KAI) and 50% minority-owned general contractor joint venture (Source Building Group/Satterfield & Pontikes Construction). Additionally, the building’s construction included a collaboration with the Regional Black Contractors Association and its “Second Chance” workforce program which trained men and women who have been part of the criminal justice system to learn new transferable job skills utilized by the contractors on the project job site.