Now open for business. The Law Enforcement Training Facility, 11370 89th Ave. N. in Maple Grove, has now opened to the public for shooting.
This facility is partnership between the Maple Grove Police Department and the Plymouth Police Department. The facility’s shooting range had been opened since mid-January to only Maple Grove and Plymouth police officers.
Maple Grove Police Captain Keith Terlinden said, “We opened the range because of the facility being able to handle it. The public shooting will help off set some of the expenses to run the range.”
He added there has been a demand for public shooting at the range in the past.
“The range should be a benefit to everybody,” he said. “Plus, it is a safe, secure facility and the equipment is really state of the art.”
The range has a an ICU, which is a computer that someone can program their target to be positioned at. Targets can get be positioned up to 40 yards.
There is also a safety mechanism in place, sort of like on a garage door or at a bowling alley. There are two boxes near each end just behind the stalls where a laser beams runs through. Capt. Terlinden said once that laser is compromised, all the targets are turned and an audible alarm goes off.
The entire range is armor plated from the stalls toward the back of the range.
The range has a new ventilation system that takes the smoke from the guns to the back of the range. This system also helps bullets that bounce off the back of the range into an opening where the bullets are trapped and dumped into a bucket.
All the lead from these trapped bullets is eventually recycled.
Capt. Terlinden said, “One of the reasons we didn’t have public shooting here with our old system was because there was a rubber trap in the back. After so much use the rubber would have to be pulled out and all the lead had to be cleaned out of the back. This would take us out of service for four to five days.”
This was all at a cost of $10,000 to clean the old trap out.
He added with the new range, all the bullets that are trapped are now recycled, making the city money. The first recycled batch of bullets gave the city $1,000, although there aren’t any estimated total amounts yet.
Capt. Terlinden said there are always Range Safety Officers present at the firing range. Typically, there are three safety officers on a time. This is to ensure that all range rules are being followed.
“Some of them have law enforcement backgrounds, but most of them have extensive experience in weapons,” Capt. Terlinden said of the Range Safety Officers. “A lot of them are retired law enforcement officers.”
Eventually the range would like to explore the idea of allowing the use of higher caliber rifles at some point. “We didn’t do it initially because the bang from a rifle creates is very distracting if your shooting a handgun or .22,” he added.
Lanes may be rented out by adults 18 years and older. Children ages 12 to 17 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian at all times. Anyone using the range must fill out an individual rental agreement, which can be found on the city’s website (maplegrove.gov) under the police section.
The range is open to everyone, including conceal and carry classes as well as firearms safety classes. The facility has a meeting room that can be rented out for private gun safety-type classes.
Only handguns and .22 rifles are allowed at the firing range, which must be cased or holstered when not in use. Not allowed are tracer, armor piercing or steel core ammo or silhouette targets.
Capt. Terlinden added there are no hand gun rentals nor ammunition sales available.
Ear and eye protection are required while shooting at the range. Closed-toe shoes are also required. Some items, such as targets and ear protection, are available for a fee.
Public shooting hours are Wednesdays from 6 to 9 p.m. and Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. The LETF is closed on holidays. No reservations are taken.
Single-lane rental rates are: $18 per person for 45 minutes, $29 for two people for an hour. Credit cards, cash and checks are accepted.
Anyone with questions can call the range coordinator at 763-494-6151.