A little history on the Sheriff’s A-Range or Duffy’s Town. The Sheriffs department started our relationship with the Navy back in 1968 when we started sharing their pistol ranges located in the canyon behind the small arms training center on East Miramar. The area was known as Camp Elliott and next to our pistol range is the old 1000 yard rifle range. The range is still there but covered
with weeds. It is located to the South of our current Range 7. Up on top of the mesa by the classrooms is the old 600 yard rifle range. This range was used by our department until 1988 when it was made inactive by the military. The current classrooms are built on the foundation of an old quanset hut, which many of you might remember holding classes in.
In 1974 an organization called the Honorary Deputy Sheriffs Association was started by then Sheriff John Duffy. The mission was to build an organization that would support training and securing equipment for local law enforcement. This was the seed that grew into Duffy’s Town, ranges 5, 6, & 7, ballistics testing, classrooms, obstacle course, rappel tower and administrative offices. This has spread to the HDSA supporting the Regional Training Facility on Otay Mesa where we have our new multi-training facility.
Currently there are 714 members of the Honorary Deputy Sheriffs Association who support our Department’s training and education mission by providing funding for new construction, maintenance, training, specialized equipment and a host of other special projects through out the department. They come from a variety of professions within the community, and many might surprise you. I’ll tell you about a few of them further on in this story and about their behind the scenes support to our department.
Here at the A-Range and in Duffy’s Town we have seen a lot of activity and improvements in the past fiscal year. The improvements have been largely due to our Guardian Angels, The Honorary Deputy Sheriff’s Association. We have new classrooms, new patios, concrete walkways, office space, expanded ranges and drainage system.
The HDSA has a support committee assigned to the A-Range which helps to guide projects and gain the logistical support from their many resources within their organization.
Kenny Miles and Jeff Basford direct this group and focus their efforts by coordinating with the Weapons Training Unit staff.
This month, with the financial support and special donation to the HDSA by members Art & Nancy Bartlett, the new classrooms and bathrooms were made operational. HDSA member Robin Callaway of “A.O. Reed & Co.” donated the materials necessary to open our new bathrooms. If any of you remember the old bathrooms which were built in 1940, the improvement to the facility has been long awaited! Painting will be done by HDSA member Ray Crouse who is a painting contractor. All the construction labor was donated by HDSA member Al “Gunny” Jellision who is a master carpenter and spent many long hours working on the building.
Anytime you come across an HDSA member in the course of your daily activities remember to thank him or her for their outstanding support and dedication to providing us with a great training facility!
We’re done with department qualifications until September/October. Our department armorer Roy Foust is gearing up for the project. Roy is a very talented gunsmith and not only repairs our weapons, but runs qualifications, and does all the repairs to the turning target system which gets shot up on a regular basis. Plans are being formulated for the bi-annual weapons maintenance and service program that we conduct at the A-Range every two years. This covers the service inspection of all issued weapons and takes a lot of support to complete. We are planning on having ten support personnel on hand each day to provide maintenance to all of your firearms. Requests will be going out to various commands to “TAD” personnel to us so that we can free up our armorers for firearms repair & maintenance while the TAD personnel runs the line.
Patrol rifle classes have been in high demand. This is due to effectiveness of the weapon system and training that has been received by our Department’s deputies. Several recent shootings have demonstrated that the .223 patrol rifle is an effective tool and provides our deputies with a weapon that has the accuracy, range and firepower needed to stop the threat. We now have over 500 rifles in the hands of first responders.
Cpl. Rich Sigmund who heads our rifle training program has a long waiting list and has been trying to accommodate everyone who requests the training. Rich makes every attempt to be fair in spreading out the requests to various commands so that no one command dominates the entire class. The classes for June, July and August are already full, so contact Rich at the Otay facility to get on the waiting list. The list for 2006 is already filling up, so don’t wait.
July 1st is our target date to be fully operational after the recent construction here at the A-Range. We have had an erratic schedule in trying to deal with the Water Authority and provide training services to all the agencies that use our facility. Starting on July 1st we are going to (7) days per week on staffing the range. All the ranges will be open from 0700 to 2200 hours. On Saturday and Sunday we will be open from 0700 to 1600 hours for open shooting again.
With the re-opening of our ranges, we are moving the Detention & Court Service Academy back to the A-Range immediately. This will take some of the pressure away from the Otay range and give them some breathing room. We will be making a decision in the near future regarding moving the Regional Academy back to the A-Range. We will keep you posted on future scheduling changes.
As a reminder the Vista range is open every Monday and Wednesday night from 1800 to 2030 hours. The range is staffed by our reserves that do an outstanding job. We are trying to provide a weekend day that the Vista range will be open. We are training new reserves to help meet this much needed service. We want to welcome on board Andy Kincaid, Bert Luna and Eric Hayes.
Firearms proficiency is a perishable skill and you need to practice. Our recent reviews of many Officer Involved Shootings have indicated to us that the deputies who practice with the “tools of their trade” are more effective in addressing a threat and stopping it quickly. So come on down to the range and get in some trigger time with us.