City to honor former chief

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Firing range to be named in honor of Balkcum

By Jesef Williams

The Lancaster Police Department’s pistol range will be named in honor of a former police chief who died last year.

Lancaster City Council voted unanimously July 14 to name the pistol range The J.D. Balkcum Training Facility in honor of the late Police Chief Jimmy Balkcum.

Balkcum died Nov. 4, 2007, at age 56.

He had a 28-year career in law enforcement, serving as a state trooper and with the city of Lancaster Police Department, including seven years as assistant chief and two years as chief.

Police Chief Hugh White asked that council name the pistol range in Balkcum’s honor.

White said Balkcum played a huge role in the design and construction of the original pistol range.

“He had a genuine passion for firearms,” White said. “I think it would be merely fitting to name the pistol range after him.”

The range, shared by the city police department and the Lancaster County Sheriff’s Office, has seen upgrades to its roadway and equipment.

It now provides for close quarters combat training and enhanced features to allow for ground fighting, shooting techniques and other tactically realistic scenarios, White said.

Some of the improvements have been provided through a $89,000 federal grant the sheriff’s office recently received.

“It looks great,” White said. “A lot of work, sweat and effort has been put into the range. I’m just well pleased with what we have now. It’s a state-of-the-art facility.”

Contact reporter Jesef Williams at jwilliams@thelancasternews.com or at (803) 283-1152