Franklinton Police firing range getting a needed update

Published 7:08 am Friday, April 5, 2013

Improvements are under way at the Franklinton Police Department’s firing range.

The firing range is located on Boat Ramp Road on a 1-acre piece of property owned by the town, set apart from nearby ball fields.

Maj. Justin Brown said the department has always had a firing range there. But the facility sustained damage from a couple of hurricanes and floods, and officers decided it was time to build something new.

The previous facility, Brown said, was generally not conducive to safe training. Made of wood, the covered area was beginning to cave in, and the berm, the wall-like structure designed to stop the bullets, was very small.

Much progress has been made so far. The berm area has been built up, dirt work has been done and trees have been cut down.

All the work is being done by Franklinton Police Department officers, Brown said. He wanted to express a special thanks to Jason Creel and Creel Brothers. Brown said Creel, a reserve officer, has been a big help during the project, providing the equipment being used and offering guidance on things like dirt work.

Tuesday, the officers were working on improvements at the 50-yard line, the point from which they will do rifle training. Cement had recently been poured, and the officers were putting up beams. A covering will be added there, and the spot will be a staging area for the officers waiting to shoot from the 25-yard line or closer, Brown said.

The facility belongs to Franklinton Police Department, but it will likely be used by other agencies such as the Washington Parish Sheriff’s Office, Covington Police Department, Probation and Parole and Causeway Police Department, Brown said.

Improvements to the firing range will be an ongoing process, and Brown said the department will continually look for ways to make the facility better. However, he estimates the current work will be finished and the officers will be able to shoot on the range by the end of April.

When the work is complete, Brown said, the department will have a newer, nicer and better facility.

“We’ll be able to use it a lot more, as compared to the old one, because it was in such disrepair,” he said. “It’s incumbent upon us as law enforcement officers to be proficient, and carrying a firearm, obviously, is one of those things that makes you a police officer.”

State law and peace officer standards require that officers complete firearms qualification annually.

“But our department far exceeds those standards, and we’ll qualify on it multiple times a year,” Brown said.