Ben Clark Training Center History
Ben Clark Public Safety Training Center (BCTC) was made possible by the realignment of March Air Force Base. In November 1995 the Joint Powers Authority (JPA) identified acreage in the western portion of the base as “…reserved to create a Riverside County Sheriffs Training Academy.” The area encompasses approximately 400 acres and includes buildings and facilities which were home to the former non–commissioned Officers Academy and the 15th Air Force Headquarters.
The vision of an integrated public safety training facility was realized in 1996, when the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (now CALFIRE)/Riverside County Fire Department entered into a formal alliance with the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department at the time March Air Force Base was being realigned from an active military base to a reserve base. The location was designated the Ben Clark Public Safety Training Center (BCTC) by resolution of the Riverside County Board of Supervisors on September 24, 1996. CALFIRE/Riverside County Fire Department and Riverside County Sheriff’s Department training programs were moved to the BCTC in the same year. A facility management team with key representatives of each agency was organized to provide oversight and direction for the new facility.
CALFIRE, Riverside County Fire, Riverside Community College District and the Riverside County Training Officers Association work collaboratively to identify training needs and to provide quality education for the region. The BCTC has become a centralized training center facility that offers, Emergency Medical Technician courses, Paramedic Training and Recertification, POST Academies, SFM Certified Fire Academy and Fire Technology Associate of Science Degree. It is also the location of the majority of State Fire Marshal FSTEP and CSFTES course offerings in Riverside County.
Today the Ben Clark Public Training Center has classrooms, burn towers, burn props, scenario buildings, an equine complex, student housing, physical training facilities, a shooting range, and administrative offices. A facilities use plan was developed in 1997. Future plans include completion of scenario buildings, dining facilities, and remodeling of existing structures to accommodate additional interactive fire, emergency medical and law enforcement personnel training.