Renovated range offers police better training options
The Dublin Division of Police will take aim at better training with a renovated firing range.
The 20-year-old firing range in the basement of the Justice Center received $445,000 in renovations and the work was unveiled last month.
"The range was built originally when the building was built in 1993 with 1993 technology," Chief Heinz von Eckartsberg said.
The 41-foot by 75-foot firing range often saw breakdowns during training, but renovations now offer LED lighting, light and sound simulation, a wireless rail system and a new state-of-the-art computer system for simulations.
"We do all firearm training on our range," von Eckartsberg said.
"This enables us to do it more safely and efficiently," he said, noting training used to be interrupted by breakdowns. "Halfway through week-long training, it would break down."
The bullet trap was worn out and replaced with a trap that will allow the use of the types of bullets officers carry in the field, von Eckartsberg said.
"The pulverized rubber enables us to shoot any round," he said. "Before we had to purchase specific bullets for this. They were expensive."
Now officers can use whatever gun and ammunition they use in the field and the sound of training will be minimal in the rest of the building.
The targets are now computerized, rather than using pulleys that often broke down.
"We can operate it with a tablet," von Eckartsberg said, or from a booth behind the range.
Lighting and sounds add to simulation possibilities for training and can mimic a night traffic stop, active shooter response or hazardous traffic stop.
"We have thousands of different simulations," Training Officer Corporal Tim Hosterman said.
The range also has objects such as a mailbox and fire hydrant that officers can use for cover during practice and reactionary targets that help officers train for situations such as an assailant wearing a bulletproof vest.
"Having this tool is a big, big deal for us," von Eckartsberg said.
Other training opportunities place different targets in a room that forces officers to quickly identify threats.
"The officers have to make quick decisions in the training scenario," Training Officer John Kreuz said.
Dublin officers won't be the only people to benefit from the renovations. For the first time, other law enforcement agencies will be able to use Dublin's range for training for a fee.
"There's more and more cooperation (with other agencies) than in the past," von Eckartsberg said. "Most police departments don't have their own range."