There was a time when municipal police agencies throughout Connecticut could have their own firing ranges and field training facilities. Residential development, however, has made such conveniences — noisy outdoor ranges in particular — unwelcome in the communities that have sprouted around them. They are also seen as too costly in times that call for fiscal restraint.
In an example of how regional cooperation can lighten the load on taxpayers, Gov. M. Jodi Rell recently awarded the Capitol Region Council of Governments $1 million to erect a single training facility in Rocky Hill that will serve 25 of the 29 towns in Greater Hartford. The cost of operating the training center, whose location has yet to be determined, will be split among participating towns.
Police agencies that have ranges now will likely see a significant savings in giving them up. Those that don't will have the satisfaction of knowing that for a nominal amount, they can have full access to a modern training center.
Plans call for a new compound with an indoor firing range, an outdoor obstacle course for SWAT teams and a course for canine training. Many departments today train their canine and SWAT teams at makeshift locations.
The training center is the most significant of 10 projects that Mrs. Rell funded under a Regional Performance Incentive Grant program she established last year. Among the other projects are a data-sharing network among municipalities, three regional accident-investigation teams and a regional facility for housing impounded animals.
Regional cooperation is the wave of the present. It could bring property taxes under control, reduce duplication of services and improve the delivery of those services.
Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant.
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