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LPD discusses shooting range improvements

by system
Mon, May 10th 2010 12:00 pm

Story and photos by Terry Duffy

Lewiston Police offered a brief look into the LPD shooting range Monday, where updates were discussed as well lessening the range's impact on neighbors.

"We're looking at ways to better secure the range," said LPD Chief Chris Salada, who along with Sgt. Frank Previte III, a certified range instructor, discussed the department's newest initiatives to address recent concerns by neighboring residents about the Harold Road facility.

Among the improvements:

  • Heights of the range's three berms are being elevated to 25 feet on the north and south sides from earlier 15-foot heights, and to 30 feet on the rear, eastern, side from an earlier 25 feet. Previte said that typical range fire sees bullets landing into the berms at roughly one-half those heights, and that the new berm height will only better aid the containment.
  • Range shooting hours are now from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday though Friday, with no weekend shooting allowed.
  • Plantings of trees are being considered around the range perimeter to dampen the noise, along with installation of other measures.
  • Regular meetings are eyed with agencies that utilize the range regarding its operations. Among current users are the U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Customs and Enforcement, and the U.S. Air Force officers at the Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station.

Salada said the sessions would: ensure that agencies adhere to safety guidelines that are at least as stringent as those practiced by LPD; provide a framework for the agencies to enter and adhere to provisions of a liability contract now being developed by the town; maintain open communication with the agencies and LPD as to exactly what type of weapons and ammunition are being used at every qualification; and, ensure that participating agencies are insured to the standards that the town accepts.

Previte and Salada said that range improvements are moving ahead and LPD's new range standards and policies would be taking effect immediately. As reported last week, discussions are under way with the town and LPD on developing the Harold Road site for an enhanced fire/police training facility.

For now, LPD's focus remains on addressing range operations with respect to residents' concerns.

"We would like to resolve the range issues for the residents as soon as possible," said Salada. "The Lewiston Police Department would like to see the residents enjoying their properties again. Then we can get back to concentrating on our training, in order to better serve this community."

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