On a foggy morning down a dirt road, the Aberdeen Police Department and various city officials chucked the first ceremonial shovels of dirt for what will become the department’s new firing range.
Dedicated to W. Bret Ellis, a former officer who served with the department from 1995 to his death in 2014, the range will replace the current range near Lake Aberdeen, which was hit several years ago by a landslide, reducing its usefulness.
“I think we’re all very honored that they’re still remembering him,” said Ellis’ wife, Becky, speaking for his family. “The department was like a second home to him.”
Aberdeen Mayor Pete Schave, who, alongside Becky, City Administrator Ruth Clemens, Chief Dale Green and Deputy Chief Jay Staten, tossed the first handful of dirt, said he was glad the range was getting underway.
“It’s been a long time getting here,” Schave said. “It’s really exciting to hear we’re almost there.”
The city has approximately $800,000 slated for the facility, said Clemens in an email. Aberdeen’s Public Works Department will be constructing the building as their own schedule allows, Green said.
“We’ve been waiting for seven long, long, long years,” Green said.
Green said the range, optimistically, would be in commission by spring of 2023. The range will be a 100-yard range, for use with pistols, rifles and scenario training, Green said, such as traffic stops and building searches.
“This shooting range should be a whole new world for us. It’ll be new, modern, larger,” Schave said. “We’ll be able to interact with other agencies far more than we have in the past.”
Other departments, including state and federal agencies, will be able to use the range, Green said, but the range will not be open to the public.
• Contact reporter Michael S. Lockett at (757) 621-1197 or email@example.com.