Jefferson Police Call the Shots at Own Range
Officers must pass state-mandated tests.
If you’ve ever been to the Jefferson Township Library and jumped because you were startled at the sound of gunshots, there’s no need for concern. Jefferson hasn’t turned into a gun-riddled town. It’s just the sound of police officers practicing at the shooting range at the Jefferson Township Police Department.
Officers practice at the range and are tested from twice to four times a year.
“All of our officers have to be state-certified with a 40-caliber pistol and a 12-gauge semiautomatic shotgun,” said Chief Kevin Craig. “Some are also certified with a G36 patrol rifle.”
To pass the test, officers must score at least 80 percent in a test of 50 rounds at a moving target. They shoot at a moving target from 1, 3, 5, 7, 10, 15, 20 and 25 feet and are tested during the day and at night, Craig said.
Craig noted that the department is fortunate to have the shooting range, as it saves the township money.
“If we didn’t have the range, we’d have to purchase time at the Police Academy in Morris Township or at another range,” he said. “We don’t have to worry about that here.”
Departments from neighboring towns sometimes use the Jefferson range as well, but that time is somewhat restricted, Craig said.
“Since the range is so close to other buildings, like the library, we limit how much it gets used,” he said.
Because of the noise and the range’s proximity to the library, no shooting is done before noon on most days.
“The library usually has its programs for young children early in the morning. Because the little ones are the ones who have the most problem with the noise, we try and accommodate the library by not doing shooting early,” Craig said.
The range is also closed on days when there is a lot of activity at the library or municipal building, like Election Day.
“We don’t want to be shooting when we know there will be a lot of people around the complex,” Craig said.