The Police Department has spent the better part of the last couple of years doing little to control the racket at its outdoor shooting range on Old River Road SW.
Next-door neighbor Don Sedrel, a retired city firefighter, and several other homeowners have protested time and again about the range, but, they say, with little success.
For its part, the Police Department says that it has limited shooting to a degree to try to accommodate the neighbors. But the department has never made any kind of commitment to moving the noisy operation elsewhere.
This has been the case even since Sedrel contacted the state Citizens’ Aide/Ombudsman’s Office about two years ago to see if it might intervene on the homeowners’ behalf.
In recent weeks, that state office noted that its investigation of the shooting range remains open, but the office said it was far from clear if anything would come of it.
City Council member Justin Shields also has wondered if something can be done to help the neighbors.
Well things might be changing.
This week, City Hall released a wish list of city projects for which it hopes to garner federal funds, and one of those is a new $35-million Regional Public Safety Training Center.
According to the city’s request for funding, the new regional center might be located at Kirkwood Community College and would serve as a training center for police officers and firefighters. The latter used to train at the city’s Central Fire Station, which was heavily damaged in the June flood.
Interestingly, the new facility also would house a new indoor/outdoor shooting range for city police officers and the multitude of officers from other agencies that now use the range next to Don Sedrel’s house.
In building its argument for the new training center, the Police Department cites the problems with neighbors at its existing shooting range and highlights the state investigation into the matter.
“The State Ombudsman is investigating the possibility of closing the police shooting range because of noise pollution and its proximity to houses and businesses in the area,” the city’s written request for funds states.
The request goes on to state, “the current situation dictates drastic changes and soon.”
Maybe Uncle Sam will give Don Sedrel his wish yet.