City, County Planning $4 Million Indoor Police Firing Range At Farmers Market On 11th Street

Thursday, January 10, 2013

City and county officials said Thursday they are planning a joint police firing range at the old Farmers Market on E. 11th Street.

The city and county plan to spend up to $1.5 million each on the project to go along with a $1,050,000 federal grant secured earlier by former Congressman Zach Wamp. Officials said the grant is about to expire and action is needed soon.

The agencies will be giving up the current 33-acre outdoor firing range at Moccasin Bend. That property is slated to go to the National Park Service for the national archaeological district at the historic Bend.

Chief Deputy Sheriff Allen Branum said the sheriff's office and city police department have searched "from Raccoon Mountain to Collegedale" for a replacement outdoor range. But he said, due to new government regulations and other factors, such ranges "may be a thing of the past."

He said Mayor Ron Littlefield then suggested the Farmers Market property, where the city police department is opening a new Onion Bottom precinct.

The planned firing range will have 25 lanes and will be able to simulate a variety of conditions officers may face, including darkness, Police Chief Bobby Dodd said.

He said it should serve the needs of most officers, though long-distance sniper training may be relocated to the range in Catoosa County.

Officers will no longer have to be concerned with delays due to inclement weather, it was stated.

Chief Branum said the planned range is based on one at Alpharetta, Ga., that is privately owned and used by four large police departments as well as the general public. He said some noise from the range can be heard from the parking lot, "but not as much as from nearby commercial buildings."

Officials said the range will have a high-tech air filtration system that will be among the largest factor in operation costs.

The facility will automatically recover and recycle the valuable lead and brass from the bullets. Officials noted that bullets are now fired into the ground at Moccasin Bend, contaminating the property.

Officials said the other 10 police departments in Hamilton County also use the Moccasin Bend range. They said it will be necessary to have a charge for them to use the new range, but they said it will be kept as low as possible - just to help recover operation costs.

Chief Dodd said a number of others also use the Moccasin Bend range - from railroad detectives to law enforcement for the NRC. He said only the NRC currently pays to use the Moccasin Bend range.

Over 400 officers each from the city and county departments use the range.

A rangemaster from the city and from the county will be on duty at the new range. Officials said that will be existing personnel.

Cathy Cook, Chickamauga Park superintendent, said the government won't accept the 33 acres until the property is decontaminated. County Mayor Jim Coppinger said he had not heard that requirement before. He said he thought the federal government would have been glad to have been given the property.

Supt. Cook said the value of the recovered bullets is likely to cover most of the decontamination costs.

Existing buildings also need to be torn down at the Moccasin Bend site before the government takes it, she said.

The location of the 4.75-acre new range is 740 E. 11th St.

 


Latest Hamilton County Jail Booking Report

Here is the latest jail booking report from Hamilton County: ASHWORTH, JESSE ANDREW  1267 LEASIDE LANE HIXSON, 37343  Age at Arrest: 30 years old Arresting Agency: Federal Marshall Booked for Previous Charges or Other Reason(s) --- BALLEW, JEFFERY LAMAR  1506 MULBERRY STREET CHATTANOOGA, 37404  Age at Arrest: 48 years old Arresting Agency: ... (click for more)

Worker Dies At M&M/Mars Plant In Cleveland

An employee of the M&M/Mars plant in Cleveland, Tn., died on the job on Thursday night. The Tennessee Occupational Safety and Health Administration was investigating. The plant is on Peerless Road. (click for more)

Save Coolidge Park - And Response (2)

Last Monday morning while at work a good friend messaged me concerning a matter that I had not heard anything about dealing with Coolidge Park and its future. Apparently that night the City Council was to read an ordinance that would allow the mayor to start negotiations with the relocation of the Medal of Honor Museum. This ordinance would enable the city to lease approximately ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Tipping The Preacher

I got an unusual telephone call the other day from someone I love who asked my help in solving one of life’s delicate mysteries. It is a tough question: “How do you tip a preacher?” In the first place, you never tip a preacher. It’s the preacher who gives out the tips, helping to keep you on the straight-and-narrow in your quest to waltz through the Pearly Gates. But there are ... (click for more)

Memorial Service For Lynn Trent is Sunday June 26

 “To all who knew Lynn this (his death) is truly sad news. My friendship with Lynn goes back to the 70's.I was always the better for having seen Lynn on any trip home and know no one more dedicated to or who loved the Mocs any more than Lynn.” UTC Alum and Actor Dennis Haskins   We have lost a friend. Actually a great friend. One who was dedicated ... (click for more)

Red Bank Stays Unbeaten With Win Over Waterdogs

The Red Bank Gators are now a win away from claiming first place in the White division of the Chattanooga Area Swim League. Facing the Waterdogs from Cleveland in a battle of unbeaten teams at Red Bank Thursday night, the Gators clinched at least a tie for first place with a 403-366 victory in a meet that was much closer than that 37-point margin might otherwise indicate. ... (click for more)