The Georgetown Police Department celebrated the completion of its 15,545-square-foot firing range June 3.

The details

Located on the city's Public Safety Operations and Training Center campus, the facility is a hybrid indoor/outdoor static firing range enclosed by concrete walls and a baffled steel roof. This type of roofing is constructed with angled slats that allow for natural air flow and ensure gunfire does not exit the range or injure users or equipment, according to Savage Range Systems, a firing range equipment business. Unlike a fully enclosed firing range, this design does not require a strong filtration system, which significantly cuts down costs, Police Chief Cory Tchida said.

The range includes 15 shooting lanes for pistol and rifle fire as well as a bullet trap—which stops and collects the projectiles—acoustic sound dampening paneling, modular walls, multiple gun cleaning stations, a large storage room for training props and two large monitors for firearms training curriculum, Tchida said.

Funds for the project were allocated in fiscal year 2021-22 as part of Phase 2 of the public safety center's master plan, according to previous reporting from Community Impact.

The specifics

The ribbon-cutting celebration was attended by members of the Cedar Park Police Department and Williamson County Sheriff's Office, former GPD Chief Wayne Nero and Georgetown Mayor Josh Schroeder.

During the ceremony, Schroeder praised Nero and Tchida for their work on the project, and reaffirmed the city’s commitment to safety and the community at large.

“This building is our commitment to public safety and law enforcement,” Schroeder said. “Hopefully, this can be a resource not just for Georgetown but for the entire state and folks from all over the country.”

The PSOTC campus, located at 3500 DB Wood Road, was completed in 2015 and features multiple training sites. These include an emergency operations center where officers practice active-shooter training with role-play actors, a low-speed driving track and an obstacle course. The 76,000-square-foot main building houses offices, a physical agility training room, evidence storage and crime scene processing.

The campus is also home to the Georgetown Fire Department and Emergency Communications Center.

Why it matters

This newest addition to the PSOTC campus will allow GPD officers and other regional police forces better access to live firearms training, Tchida said.

In 1997, GPD officers would drive to a range outside Killeen beside a nearby dump to train for their annual qualifications. Later, in a joint agreement with Williamson County, another range was built near the Williamson County Landfill. This range was shared with the Williamson County Sheriff's Office and was used by multiple agencies, making it hard to schedule regular training, Tchida said.

“No police officer ever wants to discharge a firearm in the line of duty. But the reality is, it is something that we have to train for,” Tchida said. “And historically it is one of those areas where a lot of law enforcement agencies don't have the time or resources to do anything other than the bare minimum that's required. We have never been and nor will we be a bare-minimum organization.”