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.

 


PHOTOS: President Donald Trump's Inauguration

Woman, 22, Charged In Robberies In Chattanooga, East Ridge

A 22-year-old woman is charged in connection with robberies in Chattanooga and East Ridge. Ebony Faye Cousin, of 1217 Shomar St., is charged with aggravated robbery, attempted robbery, theft of property, driving on a revoked license, striking a highway fixture, reckless driving, speeding and not having insurance. Police said Ms. Cousin pointed a pink handgun at a clerk at ... (click for more)

Bakewell Mountain Community Thanks Commissioner Fairbanks

The residents of Bakewell Mountain want to formally thank Commissioner Randy Fairbanks for standing up for our community in protecting our property rights and families. He personally made several trips to our properties and homes to see how the proposed gun range would affect our daily lives with noise, traffic, and a decrease in property values. Sometimes the little guys need ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Just One Year Later…

If I hadn’t actually seen it happen, I would never have believed it. Not only did I wonder if it could ever happen, more often than not my disgust and dismay of such rampant disorder has filled me with more gloom and doom than you’ll find in a liberal Democrat on this, Donald Trump’s Inauguration Day. But I have got to proclaim that Thursday night I have never been as proud of the ... (click for more)

Smooth-Operating Cameron Leads Tyner Past 'Canes

Tyner may occasionally have an off night scoring, but that Rams defense is always spot-on. East Hamilton saw that first hand Thursday night in a hot Tyner Academy gymnasium. It didn’t rain points. Neither offense was sparkling, but the Rams had a distinct edge on one end of the court throughout the game – East Hamilton’s. The Rams got to almost every loose ball, most ... (click for more)

Cleveland Wrestlers Whip Walker Valley, 60-12

The undefeated and top-ranked Cleveland Blue Raider wrestling team just keeps rolling along, winning the close ones and also winning the ones not so close. Thursday night at Walker Valley, the Blue Raiders recorded five pins, three technical falls and two forfeits in a 60-12 victory over the Mustangs. Those pins came from Bryce Pond, Colton Landers, Austin Sweeney, Dylan Jones ... (click for more)