“I think that the beneficial part to the city outweighs that little benefit to an individual at this time.”
CRESTVIEW — Plans for a law enforcement shooting range have resumed following Monday’s City Council meeting.
The council voted 5-0 to terminate the hold on the project and move forward with the shooting range for the Crestview Police Department.
Plans were put on hold after the council’s April 9 meeting when Mark Anderson, who lives near the proposed site, raised concerns about safety and noise. The site is being built about a quarter-mile from Anderson’s home and adjacent to a vacant parcel he owns.
Police Department Cmdr. Andrew Schneider downplayed the impact of the shooting range on neighboring properties.
“The majority of the time, the range will be silent,” Schneider said. “It’s not going to be utilized as much as it’s perceived.”
Schneider estimated the firing range would be used 12 or 13 days out of the year, with the worst-case scenario being 45 days annually. Crestview police also will use the range for SWAT training and K-9 training.
“There will be some days where we’ll be out there for the majority of the day, especially for SWAT training,” Schneider said. “But there are some months where we won’t utilize the range at all.”
At the April meeting, Anderson suggested moving the proposed site to a nearby, city-owned wastewater spray field. The council then voted to put a hold on the firing range while they explored that idea.
Officials with the state Department of Environmental Protection said that while they would not say no the idea, they did not recommend it, citing examples of other cities that have not had success locating ranges on spray fields because of chemical exposure.
The council was unanimous Monday in pushing the project forward, citing the need for city police to have access to firearms training and the expense of sending them out of the county to train.
“A community ought to just bend over backward to make sure that their Police Department is that well-trained and proficient, especially with their firearms,” Councilman Doug Faircloth said.
Councilman Shannon Hayes agreed.
“I think that the beneficial part to the city outweighs that little benefit to an individual at this time,” Hayes said. “Even though I’m concerned about individual rights, I believe the city’s needs are worthwhile in pursuing this effort, so I’m for it.”