HPD firing range opens in Waipahu
• Photo gallery: New Gun Range
By Dan Nakaso
Advertiser Staff Writer
WAIPAHU — Police overtime and travel time for officers will be reduced after Mayor Mufi Hannemann and Honolulu Police Chief Louis Kealoha yesterday each fired one ceremonial shot from a Sig Sauer pistol to dedicate the Honolulu police academy's new indoor firing range.
Unlike the Honolulu Police Department's outdoor range at Koko Head, the indoor range at the Ke Kula Makai police academy allows officers and recruits — and state and federal agencies — to practice and qualify 24 hours per day, at night and in lousy weather, Kealoha said.
Having the range indoors also allows officers working night shifts to practice and qualify for "annual recall training" at night, cutting down on overtime and travel time to get to Koko Head.
"This offers us a lot of flexibility," Kealoha said. "We can control the environment. In the Koko Head range, we used to wait until night to have night firing. Now all we have to do is shut off the lights and we have night firing."
The range is divided into two 15-lane rooms, one of which can be opened up to let police tactical teams drive in vehicles for specialized, live-fire training exercises.
"Let the word go forth that we will continue to support our police department," Hannemann said before dedicating the range. "... And let our residents and visitors know that we take safety and security very importantly."
Officers will begin using the new range on June 18.
It includes rooms for firearms simulators to train officers in shoot-don't-shoot situations, Kealoha said.
"This is new, this is cutting-edge technology," he said.
The range originally was projected to cost $5.4 million and be finished by April 13, 2006, city spokesman Bill Brennan said.
But $890,000 in cost overruns, especially ensuring a proper ventilation system to clear gun smoke, delayed the opening and ran the price tag to $6.3 million, said Craig Nishimura, director of the city's department of design and construction.
The 22,235-square-foot building includes a range master control room, ordnance and target storage spaces, a weapons cleaning room and office space.
Each of the 30 firing lanes is 75 feet long by 5 feet wide.
The range also includes a "running man" target that moves laterally on a track across the target line and pivoting targets designed to sharpen firing reflexes.
Although police will continue to use the Koko Head range, the new indoor facility will become the Honolulu Police Department's primary range.