Houston County Sheriff's deputies couldn't wait to get out to their new gun range.
“It makes it a lot more convenient than having to borrow other people’s facilities.” Houston County Sheriff’s Deputy Trent Blair said.
For years, Deputy Blair and the rest of his team have used another county's range.
“We’ve been using the dale county for a number of years now and sharing that with them. They’ve been gracious enough to let us use their range on a regular basis.” Houston County Sheriff Andy Hughes said.
But with increasing demands, Houston County Sheriff Andy Hughes knew his deputies needed their own space.
"We’ve had this land on the east side on the east side of the county for a couple of years now the county bought about 70 acres and they use it for a dirt pit and they county commission was gracious enough to give us 15 acres of that to use for a firing range.” Hughes said.
Sheriff Hughes says they were able to pay for this land with money from district attorney Doug Valeska's pre-trail diversion fund, and money they gained from pistol permits and drug seizures.
And the range opened just in time.
“Twice a year were rewired to qualify on all weapons they have, which includes handguns rifles and shot guns.” Blair said.
Usually Sheriff Hughes wants deputies to score at least a 70 percent on qualifications, but this time he's upped his standard.
“The Alabama police officers standard training commission requires that an officer shoot a 70 percent out of one hundred. We shoot 50 rounds on our state qualification course. This year we are requiring deputies to shoot an 80 percent. We don’t want to be substandard. “Hughes said.
And with a new gun range and new standards, Sheriff Hughes knows his officers will be motivated to do their best.
Sheriff Hughes says right now the gun range has free standing targets, but they hope to do more with it when they gain more money.