TWIN FALLS • LMS Defense, Inc., a defensive training firm that provides specialized counterterrorism training to U.S. military, law enforcement and private security professionals, announced Wednesday plans to move its corporate headquarters to Twin Falls.
Company CEO John Chapman said Twin Falls beat out Boise, Salt Lake City and Medford, Ore., in his search for the right location.
“We settled on Twin Falls because it’s right in the middle,” he said.
With a central northwestern location, Chapman said he will be able to better reach clients in Washington, Oregon, Montana and Wyoming, all underserved markets for advanced law enforcement training.
The announcement about the move was made at the annual NSSF SHOT Show in Las Vegas.
LMS was formerly headquartered in Sparks, Nev., which Chapman said was good for military business, but not in other aspects.
“The deal-closer was the infrastructure that was already in place with the (College of Southern Idaho) and very supportive police departments,” he said.
The state’s business-friendly climate and healthier economic conditions than many surrounding areas also helped.
“There’s a lot less red tape in Idaho,” Chapman said.
The company plans to locate a counterterrorism training and education center in Twin Falls County. The center will provide tactical training to Northwest civilian forces and provide a testing facility for military and civilian security force products.
Having a center like this close to home will help cut the cost of sending deputies out of state for training, said Chief Deputy Don Newman with the Twin Falls County Sheriff’s Office.
“Typically we’ve gone as far as Utah. We’ve attended some classes in D.C.,” Newman said. “So having this just south of town is huge for us. It’s very welcomed, especially when you have a limited budget to invest in this type of training.”
In Twin Falls, Chapman is looking for four or five corporate-level employees, and in February will start hiring a support staff of about 20.
Some of the corporate positions have already been filled, but depending on company projects, Chapman said he could hire up to 50 people at certain times of the year for temporary jobs.
“They’ll be almost all instructors,” he said. “And we hire a lot of temporary role players.”
Having CSI’s law enforcement training program and the Idaho National Laboratory in Idaho Falls nearby will add more opportunities and expertise, Chapman said.
“Our program is a basic program,” said Don Hall, CSI law enforcement program director and Twin Falls city councilman.
The training LMS will provide is far more advanced, but Hall hopes to use the skills of Chapman and others by having them as guest professors. He wants to offer classroom space for LMS to use.
Having officers and civilians traveling from around the state and country to attend training is a great economic opportunity for the Magic Valley, Hall said.
LMS currently does business with about 50 police departments and teaches about 600 civilian students a year, along with about 30 military contracts it has through the U.S. Department of Defense.
Chapman said his goal is to bring about 20 people a week to the training center from out of town.
“That doesn’t sound like a lot, but it starts to add up,” he said.
Building a headquarters and training center in Twin Falls County will cost the company about $600,000, Chapman said. He’s also looking at grants to cover some of the costs.
The company, established in 2006, currently operates a large training facility near Reno, Nev., and sends mobile training teams across the globe.