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Published: 1/12/2010

Construction to start on Perrysburg indoor firing range

BY JANET ROMAKER
BLADE STAFF WRITER

Construction of an indoor firing range for the Perrysburg police department is on target to get underway in the coming weeks.

“We hope to start on the project this month,” Chief Dan Paez said.

The $400,000 firing range will be created in the basement of the police department building. There's nothing in the basement now but space, Chief Paez said. The building was constructed in 2004.

The firing-range project is a joint effort of Perrysburg and Owens Community College.

As a requirement of $200,000 in state money for the project, police academy students at Owens will have access to the firing range for 15 years, the chief said. The city of Perrysburg, which owns the police department building and will own the firing range, is putting in a $200,000 match, he said.

The facility will replace an outdoor range at a local park that drew complaints from residents about the noise and raised safety concerns. Last year the police department suspended training at the outdoor range, the chief said.

“We look forward to the enclosed place,” he said.

Expected to be completed in three to four months, it will feature five firing lanes.

Typically Perrysburg police officers — the department has 33 sworn officers — train four times a year. The state only requires once a year, Chief Paez said.

The city exceeds the training requirement in order to give officers as much experience as possible, he said, adding the police department takes firearms training seriously.

“It is an important part of what we do,” he said.

The new firing range will include “a lot of steel baffles” in the ceiling to protect the building's water and electrical lines, the chief said.

The facility is designed as a tactical configuration, meaning officers won't be restricted to firing from one set spot. Instead, “they can shoot from anywhere in the space,” he said.

State firearms requalification requires more dynamic training than in the past, and that means officers must know how to shoot and move to different spots, Chief Paez said.

With this design, targets can turn and prompt officers into making split-second decisions related to a variety of scenarios, such as does the subject have a gun and should the officer respond with deadly force.

It's important, the chief said, to expose officers to as much training as possible under different settings, such as in low-level light.

The different scenarios are designed to make the training exercises more realistic, he said.

Bullets fired by officers during training will be trapped and recycled.

Plans call for a control booth; a storage area for barricades, targets, and ammunition; an armory to store spare weapons, and a small area where officers can clean and service their weapons.

The firing range will be situated in a highly secured area of the police department building, said Chief Paez. There will be additional security at the entrance of the range as well as to the armory with alarms, cameras, and locks.

Many neighboring police departments have indoor firing ranges, such as Maumee, Rossford, and Toledo, he said.

“We are very excited about having this completed to allow officers to be exposed to such training,” he said.

Doug Dariano, city engineer, said contracts for the project are being signed, and a pre-construction meeting would be held soon. No start date for the project has been set, he said.

Contact Janet Romaker at:jromaker@theblade.com or419-724-6006.



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