FOP asks Heflin council to lease firing range
by Laura Camper
news@cleburnenews.com
Sep 10, 2013 | 2697 views |  0 comments | 58 58 recommendations | email to a friend | print
HEFLIN — The Heflin City Council on Tuesday authorized the mayor to negotiate a deal with the Fraternal Order of Police to take control of a city-owned firing range used by local law enforcement.

Josh Horn, president of the Merrill-Bentley Memorial Lodge 79 FOP, said the organization has been using the property on County Road 66 as a firing range since 2005. It’s already restricted to law enforcement, Horn said.

The property used to be a landfill, said Mayor Rudy Rooks.

If the city allowed the organization to rent it, the members would handle the maintenance and upkeep including the mowing, Horn said.

“Right now if you want to use it you have to go to the Sheriff’s Office or the police department to get a key,” Horn said. “Then you have to call the city and say, ‘We’re going to have something down there. Can y’all cut the grass?’”

The property includes the firing range and a buffer of land for safety and about 10 acres of land currently not being used, said City Clerk Shane Smith. The FOP asked for a five-year lease, Smith said.

The property has a pavilion that FOP could close in and use as a classroom, Horn added.

Law enforcement officers are required to practice firing at a range at least twice a year and must pass an annual firing test, Horn said.

Raising the issue of liability, City Attorney Patrick Casey asked Horn if the FOP had an insurance policy on the property. Horn said he was working on getting such a policy.

Rooks said he would like to set the monthly rent low to allow the nonprofit organization to easily afford it.

“Just so that we would have a monetary agreement,” Rooks said. “If we want to do it on a five-year term, we could do $1 a year or something like that.”

In other business the council members:

- Unanimously approved an ordinance that would require door-to-door salesman to apply for a $15 monthly license to sell in the city limits.

- Made direct deposit of all city payroll checks mandatory.

Staff writer Laura Camper: 256-235-3545. On Twitter @LCamper_Star.

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