ACSO shooting range welcomes public, enthusiastsPublished 11:59pm Thursday, April 12, 2012
NATCHEZ — Local residents who want to take a moment during the day to relax and shoot off a few rounds now have a place to do so safely.
The Adams County Sheriff’s Office’s shooting range on Foster Mound Road, the Southwest Mississippi Training Facility, is now open to the public. The range is now open to the public from 8 a.m. to noon and 2 to 5 p.m. Monday through Thursday and from 8 a.m. to noon Fridays.
Admission is $5, and shooters get one target. Additional targets cost $1.
Opening the range is something Sheriff Chuck Mayfield said he wanted to do even before he was elected.
“There is no safe place in town or the county where people can go shoot recreationally, or sight in their rifles or teach a kid to shoot,” he said.
“If they go out in the country shooting helter-skelter, someone could get hurt.”
The sheriff said he hopes to eventually have someone in place so the range can be open for weekend hours as well. The weekday hours were put in place, he said, so the range could be open to the public at least some of the time.
The range’s shooting tower and an embankment were repaired using funds from a one-time National Rifle Association grant, and Mayfield said keeping the range open to the public does not cost the sheriff’s office any additional money. It will, however, open the door for the ACSO to apply for more NRA grants.
Maj. Charles Harrigill manages the shooting range’s public hours for the sheriff’s office.
Harrigill is currently coordinating an accreditation effort with the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement for the sheriff’s office, and Mayfield said the ACSO originally moved Harrigill to the range so he could have an office with more space.
The accreditation helps with insurance costs and serves to protect the ACSO in the event it is sued, Mayfield said.
“CALEA is probably the most important program we have going on right now,” he said. “They assess your policies, procedures and facilities — they look at everything to bring you up to the national standard for law enforcement.”
The CALEA process requires someone to work on it full-time, and generates an incredible amount of paperwork, Mayfield said.
“(Harrigill) needed more space than we have for filing cabinets and that sort of thing, and we thought he would have more space out there,” he said.
“We kind of killed two birds with one stone.”
Harrigill does not receive extra compensation for running the shooting range. The sheriff said Capt. Wendell Banks filled Harrigill’s former position as jail administrator. Banks was hired from Corrections Corporation of America.
The Friday hours at the range are shortened because Harrigill has duties associated with the CALEA accreditation that require him to leave the office, Mayfield said.
In coming months, the sheriff’s office will use the range for handgun qualifying for the Ladies Beware program, a women’s self-defense course, and will also offer a handgun course for men, Mayfield said.
Those who wish to use the range must be at least 21 or accompanied by an adult guardian. No drugs or alcohol are allowed on the range.
Users must provide their own eye and ear protection and have to collect their own spent ammunition casings.
For more information, call the range office at 601-442-6047 or the ACSO main office at 601-442-2752.