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Plano, Richardson to spend $200,000 to make new police gun range safer, quieter
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
By THEODORE KIM / The Dallas Morning News
Plano and Richardson are planning more than $200,000 in upgrades to a newly constructed police gun range after experts deemed it potentially unsafe and too noisy.
The cities decided to pursue the improvements in the wake of tests revealing that airborne lead levels violated federal law during the most intense shooting sessions.
The $2.7 million enclosed facility, which serves both cities as a training ground, opened last September in southeastern Plano next to a former shooting range.
But Plano closed the new facility several weeks after it opened over concerns that the lead-laden dust generated from gunfire was not dissipating.
One officer reported developing a sore throat during a shooting session, officials say.
The facility also became the source of noise complaints from neighboring residents.
Plano Police Chief Greg Rushin ordered the range closed last fall "out of an abundance of caution."
Officers have used a shooting range in McKinney? in the interim.
The departments plan to install fans to improve the facility's airflow, as well as clean the range more frequently and monitor the level of lead in the blood of its employees.
Moreover, officers will switch to ammunition that features lead-free primers – the tiny, explosive caps that allow bullets to fire.
Ventilation issues are hardly unique to Plano's range.
Police departments from Florida to New York have grappled with similar problems, especially at indoor shooting facilities.
Those departments have taken similar steps to improve air quality and protect the health of police officers.
Murphy residents will be anxious to see if the noise issues are truly resolved. In the short time the range was open, I heard of numerous noise complaints from residents over a mile away.
The police were shooting everything from pistols to machine guns at that range.
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