BALTIMORE, OH (WCMH) — A police shooting range in operation for four decades has neighbors complaining about safety. Police say they are making changes, even though it is highly regulated by firearms instructors and regularly inspected by the state.
The Police Chief in the Village of Baltimore, Mike Tussey said some of the improvements include a higher backstop and longer wings down both sides of the range.
“What is here now will become the foundation or base, at that point they will go up to 20 feet hard-packed clay,” said Chief Tussey.
Neighbors claim bullets fired from the range have landed on their property or hit a barn.
“Just Saturday we were out here with the kids and it sounded like a war zone,” said Kevin Imes. He said he lives downrange from the facility.
Chief Tussey disputes claims any gunfire travelled a half mile over a berm, through trees to any homes. “We have had several experienced instructors from other organizations look at this, we are talking from the base of this range to that building is 3,320 feet,” Tussey said. He said another improvement for added safety is the village will limit officers to qualifying from only 8 to 1 pm Monday through Friday.
“No matter what day of the week you shoot there are still kids at risk,” said Imes.
Several neighbors took their complaints to village officials and to Fairfield County Commissioners about safety and the noise, and are asking to have the range closed. Fairfield County officials told the group they do not have authority over the village-owned gun range.
Chief Tussey said they are making improvements to be a safe neighbor, but said the range is vital to area law enforcement, with the nearest range to qualify in Marysville, 60 miles away.
Police trainees from Eastland Academy and Columbus State Community College, along with Groveport, Whitehall, Carroll, Millersport, Lithopolis police departments along with several others, use the range to qualify.
“We never discount anybody that calls that has a concern, we look into every one of those concerns, unfortunately at the end of the day, we might have to decide to mutually disagree,” Chief Tussey said.
Village officials will discuss the funds needed to pay for the excavator service to raise the backstop and extending the wings 50 feet on either side of the range at their council meeting Monday at 7 pm.