PIEDMONT — Police train with guns hoping never to have to use them, law enforcement officials said Wednesday, speaking at the opening of a new firearms training facility in Piedmont.

The firearms training facility, atop a hill off of Roy Webb Road in northern Calhoun County, will welcome its first group of 76 police trainees on  Monday.

Officials with the Northeast Alabama Law Enforcement Academy, based at McClellan in Anniston, say the facility will provide types of live-fire training not available to them before.

“There are others in the state, but there are none that are as comprehensive as this one,” said Chief R. Alan Benefield, executive secretary of the Alabama Peace Officers Standards and Training Commission, speaking to a group of local law enforcement officials gathered for the facilities opening.

The 54-acre facility cost $1.2 million to build, and will allow prospective and active police officers to train in various ways, from breaching rooms inside a live-fire building to shooting and repelling from a range tower.  Computers control 30 air-driven targets on the firing range, which is set up to allow training with handguns and rifles.

Greg Glaze, director of the Northeast Alabama Law Enforcement Academy, said the facility’s classroom will also allow various law enforcement agencies to hold training sessions of all kinds.

“We’ve been using military ranges on McClellan,” Glaze said, in addition to using Anniston police training facilities. “It was just time, and when the money became available we jumped on it.”

Staff writer Eddie Burkhalter: 256-235-3563. On Twitter @Burkhalter_Star.