Groves police, fire departments eyeing their own training facility

Published 12:22 am Sunday, July 16, 2023

GROVES — Groves police and fire departments have a possible solution to the upcoming loss of the current gun range they use for certification and training.

Groves Sgt. John Hudson said the Jefferson County Peace Officers Association received notification they will no longer be able to use the gun range located off North Twin City Highway just outside Nederland city limits.

GPD along with the fire department are proposing a training facility to be constructed at the Groves Wastewater Treatment Plant on Taft Avenue Extension.

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

Hudson, along with Assistant Fire Chief Kelley Moore and Lt. Haden Grove, recently addressed Groves City Council in a workshop. On Monday, council will set a date for a second workshop to discuss the joint training facility, according to information from the city.

Hudson said the proposal is being called a training center but is better described as a gun range. The site would be no frills — a 100 percent outdoors area with a concrete pad, a dirt berm and tables to sit and rest.

Hudson called it “super generic.”

“We are not looking for a classroom or an actual building that’s air conditioned,” Hudson said. “We’re strictly looking at an outdoor shooting range.”

There are no actual cost calculations as of Friday, he said, as the council only asked for quotes for parts of the project and not bids. The group will bring the figures to the to-be-scheduled workshop for future discussion.

As for the size, Hudson said it would be just under an acre, including tree cleaning and the entire perimeter.

The group originally looked at land the city owns off Georgia but after meeting with the public works department, they realized that piece of land wasn’t going to work because it is inside of a neighborhood and is used after hurricanes to hold grass and other storm debris.

The wastewater treatment plant area does not have any neighborhoods nearby, making it a good choice, he said.

Hudson said the department is required to undergo annual qualifications on firearms, rifle schools and firearms training.

The Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office does have a training facility near the airport area but it is also used by a number of other law enforcement agencies, so training must be set around others’ schedules.

The fire department has training needs, as well as the police, which is why this would be a joint facility — arson investigators are required to have firearm certification.

Another way the fire department could benefit from the facility would be in other forms of training. GFD currently travels to Beaumont or Orangefield for some specific training. For example, they would be able to have a “flash over chamber” locally and be able to put out fires in real time. The Conex container could be placed at the site and used for this purpose if approved.

As for the shooting range portion, Hudson would like to see an 18-feet dirt berm. The one they are currently using is 12-feet, he said. While the cost of soil is high, the city does have soil from digging ditches that could possibly be used for the berm.

The joint training facility is in the early discussion phase and no action has been taken.