The Police Department is spending significant money to improve its outdoor shooting range along Old River Road SW.
What remains to be seen, though, is if the improvements will reduce the noise at the range that neighbors next to it have complained about for years.
Cedar Rapids police Capt. Bernie Walther on Monday said the commitment from the Johnson County agencies is a reflection of their inability to find a spot in Johnson County for their own outdoor shooting range.
Walther said improvements at the shooting range will take place in phases over a few years. One possible improvement may feature walls between the range’s shooting lanes so different departments can use the range at the same time. Such a change could reduce the days or hours that the range operates, Walther said.
The consultant, he added, will talk to neighbors as part of the range project. Walther said on Monday that the Police Department intends to work with neighbors even if it is successful in getting the state law changed. He said the department is “beholden” to the neighbors because they are taxpayers, but he added, he also is responsible to the rest of the city’s taxpayers who expect a trained and certified police force.
A neighbor next to the shooting range, Pat Freilinger, 2949 Old River Rd. SW, went to Des Moines in recent weeks and testified in front of a legislative committee about the shooting range noise, Walther said.
Freilinger has said he understands that police officers need to practice, but he has said he didn’t understand why he had to listen to the noise so officers from agencies outside the city could practice.
“That’s a free-for-all that’s not fair inside the city limits,” Freilinger has said.
Should improvements to Cedar Rapids’ outdoor shooting range for police training include noise-reduction structures?