Police get new ar-range-ment
LUPD, Campbell County Sheriff’s Office will train at the new gun range
Amidst the plans to build a gun range on Liberty Mountain, Liberty University will not be the only benefactor of the plan.
Campbell County Sheriff Steve Hutcherson said he spoke to Liberty’s Planning Coordinator Brad Butler from the Planning & Construction department as well as Liberty University Police Department’s (LUPD) Chief Richard Hinkley about using the facility for police training.
According to Hutcherson, Campbell County has been working to build its own gun range for almost 12 years.
“We were just looking at building something that would suit our needs and no more, and that was going to be quite expensive,” Hutcherson said.
The Campbell County Sheriff’s Office used Lynchburg City’s gun range, but Hutcherson said other departments from around the county also need time on the range.
“We got to a point where we couldn’t get the time we really needed on Lynchburg’s range,” Hutcherson said.
Throughout the years, a budget was being set aside, but Hutcherson said as the economy would fluctuate, the budget needed to be spent elsewhere.
During 2012, Hutcherson tried again to start the project and attempted to partner with the Altavista Police Department, but between the complications with property and complaints from the county residents, the project continued to fall through.
Hutcherson said the estimated budget for his project would have been nearly $450,000, and those funds would only build a basic shooting range facility.
“(Liberty’s range) would save tax payers a lot of money and give us the time we need on a range,” Hutcherson said.
Working alongside Liberty, Hutcherson said his department should be able to have two weeks of training in the spring and fall as well as individualized practice a few times a month.
“It was perfect timing,” Hutcherson said.
“I told the board it was a Godsend as far as I’m concerned because I’ve been involved in this project one way or another since 2005, and (it’s) very frustrating how slowly the process has been.”
Hutcherson also said some of his deputies live in suburbs, and they do not have a chance to sharpen their shooting skills on their own property.
“Part of what we look at for promotions to master deputy or to anything above the regular deputy is firing scores,” Hutcherson said.
“So it’s really not fair to do that when I can’t give … (our) deputies (an) opportunity to go practice.”
Hutcherson said he looks forward to continuing to work with Liberty and having the opportunity to spend more time on a firing range.