Albemarle Police Regroup after Keene Firing Range Nixed - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

Albemarle Police Regroup after Keene Firing Range Nixed

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Albemarle County police are making new plans for a gun training facility after supervisors shot down an outdoor range in Keene.

Albemarle County police currently meet the state's minimum standard for gun qualifications. Officers have to qualify once a year on every gun they carry on-duty. About 15 officers went through qualifications Tuesday on the range at the Rivanna Rifle and Pistol Club.

The private facility opens its firing range for police twice a month. The qualifications start close-range from the target. Then, officers back away, firing rounds under time restrictions.

Albemarle police say training and testing time is limited since the county doesn't have its own firearms facility. That's why the department only does qualifications for each officer once a year.

"I would call it a standard. The national average is three times a year. That's what we're striving for in 2013, which is why we have to travel outside the county to get to a range to do that," said Officer Rob Heide.

Starting in May, police will travel to a Harrisonburg firing range to train. That will take about 20 officers out of the county for each session, several days a week, which the department says that will put a strain on an already understaffed police force.

A committee is currently developing a list of alternatives to that outdoor range in Keene, including finding locations to build an indoor firing range.

Police hope to present options to the Board of Supervisors later this spring.

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