Community Applauds Opening of Indoor New Haven Police Firing Range

For more than two decades, residents near the New Haven Police Academy on Sherman Parkway raised concerns about the sounds of gunfire from the shooting range being a nuisance in their neighborhoods.

As of Friday, that outdoor range is closed after the opening of a new indoor facility in a different location.

“(The noise) has increased tangentially over the years because not only are there more policeman, but the guns they use our louder,” Francine Caplan said.

Caplan lives two blocks from the outdoor range and points out there are five schools in the surrounding area. She took the lead in urging New Haven city leaders to build a new NHPD firing range.

“And we wouldn’t give up,” she said. “We pursued it, pursued it.”

Caplan joined New Haven Police Chiefs and elected officials at the ribbon-cutting for the new $1.5 million indoor firing range off Wintergreen Avenue. Mayor Toni Harp said a majority of the funding came from the state.

“This range is one of the nicest ranges in the state of Connecticut and it will probably be utilized by departments all over the state,” said Assistant Chief Luiz Casanova, who added the range will bring in revenue for the city.

A collaboration of New Haven Police and city departments worked with the national manufacturer Range Systems to build a structure that is soundproofed with rock-wool insulation, City Engineer Giovanni Zinn said.

Located near Southern Connecticut State University, Zinn said gunshots won’t be heard on campus or nearby streets.

“When we were here doing the certification the rep from Range Systems said it is one of the quietest ranges that he’s ever heard,” Zinn said, “so we’re very happy about that.”

In her now quieter neighborhood, Caplan said she hopes her home’s value will go up.

“The whole community came together and we were always pro the police,” Caplan said. “We wanted them to have a good training facility and they knew that building that outdoor one in a residential area was not a good idea.”

The new indoor range is built on the site of a former U.S. Army Reserve center. Elected officials thanked Rep. Rosa DeLauro for her role in helping the city acquire the land formerly owned by the federal government.

Chief Anthony Campbell said the delayed recruit class will begin at the police academy at the end of September, but those recruits will not start utilizing the new range until a few months into their training. He said officers already on the force will begin firing at the range much sooner.

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