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A federal grant will help the Lancaster County Sheriff's Office hit its target of building a new firing range.
U.S. Rep. John Spratt, D-5th District, secured $1.2 million for projects in York, Chester and Lancaster counties recently in the omnibus appropriations bill Congress approved this week. The appropriations include $94,000 for the firing range project.
The sheriff's office now uses the Lancaster Police Department range to complete firearms qualifications, but it has been unable to complete all necessary training in this environment.
Sheriff's officials have said that the range, built for the smaller police department, is too small to accommodate the deputies who need training.
Training Lt. Jeff Hilton told County Council last January that the county has been without a firing range for about 15 years. The Lancaster Police Department's range is on Lynwood Drive near the city limits.
The city's range allows for six officers at a time to practice firing, but with a larger department such as the sheriff's office, that means 25 other officers are likely standing around doing nothing, while others are training, Hilton said.
Having officers well-trained in the use of their firearms is important because it can be a liability issue.
Council passed first reading to rezone an old landfill on Lynwood Drive to be used for the firing range, but council members wanted sheriff's officials to talk with Lancaster Police Department officers about the possibility of a joint venture to upgrade the existing range the two departments share.
Sheriff Johnny Cauthen said Wednesday that the department would still like to work with the police department on the project. He's pleased about his department receiving the grant.
"Anytime you can get money from outside sources, especially to fund law enforcement, it's good," Cauthen said. "We would have liked to have received more, but that will go a long way for what we want to do."
Other projects being funded through the $1.2 million include a rail line extension in Chester County, communications upgrades for the Rock Hill Police Department and York County Sheriff's Office and technology for the York Police Department.
Spratt also secured $200,000 for a project to establish a residential and energy efficiency program in connection with York Technical College's established construction trades program. The program will use academic components, supplier partnerships, research and process development projects with companies to meet the objectives of strengthening the skills, capacity and global competitiveness of the United States in the areas of energy efficiency and renewable energy, according to a press release from Spratt's office.
Training modules will be developed to be inserted into credit courses at York Tech so that graduates will leave with knowledge of how to build an EnergyStar-rated home and how to use and install available sources of renewable energy.
York Technical College is seeking partners and more funding to develop training for builders and subcontractors on EnergyStar building and testing.
"These are all worthy projects," Spratt said. "I was pleased to help get the funding through Congress and I am hopeful the President will sign the bill."
Contact Jenny Hartley at 283-1151 or firstname.lastname@example.org