New First Responder Campus opened in Ocala

OCALA, Fla., (WCJB) --- First responders, elected officials, and residents of Ocala were among those in the crowd of about 200 attendees to witness what many called a historic ribbon cutting.

The Ocala Fire Rescue and the Ocala Police Department opened the doors of their new First Responder Campus which is located at 340 NE Eighth Avenue.

Ocala Fire Chief, Shane Alexander, believes that the campus may improve response times which could help provide a better service to the community.

“Right now I would say that the police and the fire department have the best relationship that they’ve ever had. Chief Graham and myself we meet on a weekly basis and we partner with a lot of services, we run almost every single call together, so it’s going to improve relations,” said Alexander.

“This is for the entire city, but this is for the neighborhood and it’s going to change this neighborhood for the better. We always know that bad people don’t like to go where police and fire are. So I think this will do a great job in cleaning up the neighborhood," said Mayor Kent Guinn.

The new buildings are equipped with improved sleeping areas along with a kitchen and even an area for community meetings.

"I mean it makes you proud to come to work out of a facility like that, and plus just the area that it’s in. We’ve had problems in the past and anytime we’ve ever have moved district offices or moved to new areas, it really helps revitalize the neighborhood get revitalized and clean it up,” said Chief Graham, Ocala Police.

The project was funded with a portion of the one-percent sales tax which was approved by Marion County voters in 2016.