MINER -- Miner's police department will soon have their own firing range once again.
During their special meeting Wednesday, the Miner Board of Aldermen approved spending $2,475 for gravel and posts to bring the city's old firing range back up to usable condition.
The department had used Sunshine Steel's firing range but had experienced problems there recently as it is "pretty much open to the public," according to Capt. Darrin Skinner of the Miner Police Department.
He explained other users shoot up the target stands. "We end up fixing a range that doesn't even belong to us," Skinner said.
Other users also leave shell casings and other trash that present hazards during their training sessions. "We do some running and shooting, walking and shooting," Skinner said.
He said typically only one out of their four training sessions per year are "stand, point and shoot."
Additionally, on one recent qualifying session there were people using the range when the officers got there. "We had to sit and wait until they got done," Skinner said.
Traveling out town to use other firing ranges, in addition to being inconvenient and presenting scheduling problems, would be costly to the department.
"We would be paying a lot of overtime," he said. "I don't think it would be cost effective at all."
As only the Miner Police Department will be authorized to use the city's firing range, "we won't have to go out and fix the range every time we go out and qualify," he said. "It's just a lot less preparation."
Police Chief Roger Moore said a barrier and no-trespassing signs will be placed to keep the public away from the firing range.
Skinner said Dub Higden of the Department of Public Works is slated to build a dirt barrier behind the target area at the city's range and that its bunkers are actually higher than at the public range.
Alderwoman Peggy Holman said she thinks the city's firing range will be safer than the public one as well.
Gravel will be used for the range area to make recovering shell casings easier and to build a parking lot so cars don't get stuck in the mud.
Skinner said Miner police officers are required by the state to have four hours per year of post-certification firearms training.
In other business Wednesday, board members unanimously voted to keep the city's tax levy for personal and real estate property at its present rate, 19 cents per $100 assessed valuation.
The Board also accepted the bid of $9,918 from Southeast Services in De Soto for a 15 kilowatt backup generator for the police department.
The generator will replace the city's old 15 kilowatt generator which stopped working. The new generator has both autostart and self-test functions, according to Alderman Justin Medley.