Nassau County Police Department reopens shooting range in Hempstead after $6.5M renovation

After an environmental cleanup and improvements at the Mineola facility, Nassau County police officers returned to their firearms training facility on July 2, 2014. (Credit: Newsday/Jessica Rotkiewicz)

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With a barrage of gunfire, the Nassau County Police Department officially reopened its shooting range in Hempstead Wednesday after a $6.5 million renovation.

Three orange-vested officers demonstrated a range of training scenarios, including an active-shooter drill with rotating targets.

When the targets showed a plain side, the officers held their fire. When the outline of a human torso appeared, bullets flew.

The new facility is designed like a lean-to. The open end has firing positions, with a series of overhangs tapering down to the closed target end.

There are 30 targets -- 20 with firing lines that extend 50 yards and the others set back 75 yards, making them suitable for practice with rifles.

The overhangs are designed to prevent errant shots or bullet fragments from escaping, and a layer of clay 18 inches below the facility protects the ground from any future contamination, officials said.

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"With the completion of this project, we have ensured the facility will continue to play a key role in the training of our police force as well as a good neighbor to those in the community," Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano said at the reopening.

The decades-old facility on Weir Street, just north of the Southern State Parkway, closed in spring 2011 for the renovation, which included removal of a buildup of ammunition lead from the site, officials said.

The nonprofit Police Foundation kicked in $40,000 for landscaping and equipment, officials said.

Acting Police Commissioner Thomas Krumpter said Nassau officers used the Hempstead and Freeport police departments' ranges during the closure. "This will significantly improve our training capability," Krumpter said. "This is a state-of-the-art facility, and as far as I know there's no better facility at any law enforcement agency in New York."

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