Schenectady police getting new state of the art shooting range

September 20, 2018 05:46 PM

SCHENECTADY - With intense scrutiny on police-involved shootings, the Schenectady Police Department is about to create a new, state of the art training facility at its headquarters on Liberty Street. Their old firing range -- which has been inoperable and empty for more than three years, is getting a big makeover.

In its current condition, the Schenectady shooting range - located in a dark section of the police department's basement, looks like something out of a 1970s TV cop drama. That makes sense, since that's when it was built.

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Outdated and in disrepair, it's been quiet down there the past few years.

"It was deemed inoperable because of a number of safety improvements and upgrades that were needed," explained Democratic Assem. Angelo Santabarbara of Rotterdam.

He announced a grant Thursday for $450,000 that will bring the training facility into the 21st century.

"This range will allow us to train our officers both how to shoot, how to be accurate when they shoot, but also most importantly when to shoot," noted Schenectady Police Chief Eric Clifford.

He says the new range will offer a variety of scenarios - multiple targets rushing officers, in sunlight, low light - with spotlights or flashing lights.

"Anything that we can put into the practice that would happen in the field, we want the officers to experience down here," reiterated Schenectady Assistant Police Chief Michael Seber.

The targets will even change at a moment's notice - say from an elderly woman to an attacker with a gun. It's what they call a "shoot or not shoot" scenario. Firing a weapon won't always be the end result.

"This range is going to incorporate technology that's going to allow our officers to de-escalate situations possibly before we have to use force," pointed out Clifford.

Mayor Gary McCarthy and Assemblyman Santabarbara also said the new training facility will be available to other agencies in the region.

There is still no timeline on when it will be complete. Vendors are still being looked at.


Jerry Gretzinger

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