Police Chief promises to work with neighbors, “fired up” about new gun range

TRIANA, Ala. - Meochia Cowan isn't a fan of the new neighbors.

“It’s awful," she tells us.

She knows each time they're home, and not because of all the cars driving by.

"This is the new normal, what can we do?" asks Cowan.

The Huntsville Police Shooting Range has been in operation for months, but Wednesday, city leaders celebrated the grand opening with food and drinks. The day was met with excitement from officers, but some disappointment from nearby neighbors.

Huntsville Police Chief Mark McMurray says the department hasn't had their own gun range since the 1970s.

“It’s been about 40 years overdue for us, but as you see, when we do it, we do it right," says Chief McMurray.

Doing it right may be up for debate.

While the facility is impressive, with a pistol and long rifle range, the barrage of bullets is firing up neighbors close by.

“We can continue to bring the noise levels down, that’s a part of the growing process," he says.

To help ease some of the tension, McMurray has adjusted the hours to 8 am - 5 pm, Monday - Friday.

“If you’re 300 yards from a pistol range would you want someone shooting at 3 o'clock in the morning? Of course not. That’s reasonable. We can make those accommodations," says McMurray.

Those hours may end up hurting second and third shift officers, who will be forced to train during the day. McMurray says that's not necessarily a problem.

"A police officer has to train 12 hours of training units per year, and currently we start out with 40 hours, so we already train them a week every year on day shift so it would just be normal," he says.

The chief adds, the berms surrounding the facility are twice the legal minimum, and that he's open to more sound proofing down the road.

"What we’re doing right now is a beta test site, and we’ve got the noise level measurements now that we’re operational, so we’re going to continue to get better," says Chief McMurray.

The problem becomes paying for improvements.

We hoped to talk to those who hold the purse strings, like Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle or City Council President Jennie Robinson, but thy left before we could catch up with them, and didn't return our phone calls.

So now, it's up to Chief McMurray, to help make peace when neighbors complain about living in a war zone.

“We don’t care if you're a citizen of Triana or a citizen of Huntsville, if you’re in this area, we want to be good partners," says Chief McMurray.

In addition to more sound proofing elements, Chief McMurray hopes to also add an indoor classroom out at the facility, so that one day, all components of police officer training can be done out at the range.