Friday, October 24, 2008

Firing Range comments post to New Haven Independent

This is posted to New Haven Independent in reply to the comments posted about this story

Hi All:

I would like to take a moment to respond to some of the comments stating that the neighborhood should be quite about the activity at the range.

Before getting to the heart of the letter I would like to preface my remarks by clearly stating that I and the entire Firing Range Committee understand and have no issue with the fact that our officers must be trained and certified. We also understand the positive “bridge building” effect that allowing other departments to use our range as well. We look forward to working with COA Smuts, Chief Lewis and Assistant Chief Brown in creating the best academy and firing range on the Wintergreen sight.

Firstly the neighborhoods (Newhallville & Beaver Hills) were built and settled prior to the range being activated. The first homes in Newhallville were built in the 1880s and the first homes in Beaver Hills were built in the 1910s. What we now call the New Haven Police Academy & Range was originally the Sherman Avenue Police Precinct building. The Academy took it over in the 1950s and the range was activated at that same time. Nearly all of the homes were already built in both neighborhoods’.

In addition the activity at the range was minimal. The State only required officers to shoot once every 3 years now our officers have to certify every year both in daylight and night shooting conditions. Also in the past it was just the New Haven PD.

Now we have 23 surrounding towns using our range to certify and train as well as six Federal Agencies, including the FBI, CIA, Coast Guard, ATF and the Secret Service.

The noise levels have jumped from the past as well. What used to be just pistol practice are now long guns and even flash bangs (this has the equivalent sound of a grenade).

Additionally we have 3 schools in earshot of the range, King Robinson, Hillhouse High & SCSU. No child or young adult should have to grow up learning in an environment that is filled with gunfire.

This is not what here when my family moved in over thirty something years ago. I trust that by proactively and positively engaging our elected officials in Washington as well as in Hartford we can show them that moving the Academy & range to the Wintergreen sight is the best and highest use for the old base and that the fact that multiple agencies as well as many surrounding towns use the range should work in our favor as well.

Moti Sandman
Alderman Ward 28

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