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GatorBridge Gives D.C. Police Great Views Of Real-Life Training In A Replica Town


A lot of strange things happen almost daily at 4665 Blue Plains Drive SW in Washington, D.C.  Police officers there deal with armed intruders of occupied buildings, hostage situations, and more by battering down doors, hunting gunmen in a school, using tear gas, and rappelling from rooftops.

Actually, 4665 Blue Plains Drive is the Metropolitan Police Academy, and inside is the “Tactical Village,” a replica town inside a 40,000-square-foot building.  The town has streets, alleys, cars, a bank, a school, an office building, and a convenience store.

At the District of Columbia’s $5.5 million facility, police recruits and seasoned SWAT teams alike train in a realistic environment for scenarios they can’t safely practice in public.

None of the buildings in the Village have rooftops. GatorBridge built 11 all-aluminum catwalks, with stairs and railings, to provide supervisors and video cameras with panoramic views of the training drills.  Thanks to the grated aluminum decks, supervisors can even see what’s happening directly under their vantage points.

Law enforcement agencies from throughout the U.S. have toured Tactical Village, which is believed to be the nation’s first tactical training facility with unobstructed views of building interiors from catwalks.

GatorDock™ and GatorBridge™, brands of Crane Materials International™ (, began fabricating marine access structures in 1976. The companies specialize in custom aluminum structures, from pedestrian bridges to piers. Customers include theme parks, golf courses and hundreds of federal and state entities, such as the US Forest Service. Discover more at and


Washington, DC

 Installation: GatorBridge

Year: End of 2013

Client: Metropolitan DC Police Department


11 Catwalks

4 Custom Support Columns

2 Sets of Custom Aluminum Stairs

Aluminum Grating Deck

Custom Aluminum Rail

Time range:

4 months


Project Summary:

The aluminum catwalks at Tactical Village provide supervisors

with a bird’s eye view of training drills. The contractor working

on the project contacted GatorDock for a custom engineered

solution for the police and SWAT team training facility. The

resulting catwalks’ design borrows heavily from Gator‘s DRI

gangway featuring an integrated truss handrail. Our grated

aluminum deck on the raised walkways allows maximum

visabilty for supervisors. Gator was proud to provide our aluminum

structures working for those who protect.


Case Study Specifics:

The facility was designed to train police officers to be

put in real-life scenarios such as hostage situations.  Tools

such as camera monitors viewed training maneuvers.


Unique Feature:

Bridges were hung from the top of the building enabling supervisors

to panoramically view activity in real time, eliminating the need

for pedestrian bridges. It was fabricated for high tolerance




Since this was the first building of its kind, it attracted

law enforcement agencies and police swat teams throughout

the U.S. to visit the building and adapt the logistics

for their own facilities.


Gator is the design and manufacturing leader of aluminum marine access and bridge, dock and gangway building projects. Aluminum is the best building material for pedestrian bridges and marine access structures. Gator creates high quality structures for practically any application. For more information or an interview with the designer please contact:


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