Public Comment wanted on plans for new Interior Alaska law enforcement training area

Published: Dec. 10, 2020 at 5:05 PM AKST
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FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) - Law enforcement in Alaska’s Interior, is looking for a new place to train officers after the firing range they previously used was closed. They have identified 10 sites around the Fairbanks and North Pole area, and are seeking public comment about the proposed locations.

The Alaska Peace Officer Association (APOA) is holding a virtual event open to the public to discuss possible locations for the new training site.

“Law enforcement is scattered throughout the borough from shooting in gravel pits, to someone’s property, to sharing a range with Eielson,” said North Pole Police Department Chief Steve Dutra.

The APOA and law enforcement had been using a shooting range at the Fairbanks International Airport since the 1960s, but that was closed a couple of years ago by the FAA. Aaron Danielson is the Chief of the Airport Police and Fire, and says that since it was shut down, his department has been driving all the way to Eielson Air Force Base to train.

The new training facility will not only have a shooting range, but an indoor classroom area and a driving course.

“We have no where at all to do any emergency vehicle operations training. So both of them together make a huge issue for local law enforcement in that we have nowhere to do adequate training that we need,” Dutra said.

The APOA has identified ten locations around the area and is seeking public comment on the locations. They will have two virtual meetings: one on Thursday, and one in mid-January where people can comment.

“It would be nice to hear folks that might be in the certain vicinity of those ranges, and in the survey it asks people how far they live from a particular location if they want to comment on that,” Dutra said.

He also said that people can find APOA on Facebook, take the survey and leave comments. Dutra also said they can email him to give their thoughts.

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