“I think that the beneficial part to the city outweighs that little benefit to an individual at this time.”
CRESTVIEW — Plans for a police department shooting range in Crestview 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 county resident Mark Anderson, who lives near the proposed site, raised concerns about safety and noise levels. The site is being built about a quarter-mile from Anderson’s home and adjacent to an unoccupied piece of property he owns.
Police Commander 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 that the firing range would be used 12-13 days out of the year, with the worst-case scenario being 45 days annually. CPD will also 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 project while they explored that idea.
The Department of Environmental Protection officials 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 due to chemical exposure.
The council was unanimous 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 backwards 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, citing the overall benefit to the city.
“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.”