The proposed Connecticut State Police training facility and gun range faced sharp opposition during a public safety committee hearing on Tuesday.
There is currently a proposal that would reopen the discussion about where to locate the proposed $28 million training facility.
“It’s like being on pins and needles,” Pamela Patalano, a Griswold resident opposed to the gun range, said. “You know we’re in limbo. We don’t know what to do.”
The range site was chosen for numerous factors, say State Police officials. Those factors included its secluded location, how it abuts a state forest, the nearest residence is a half mile from the proposed site, and that it has a natural sound and visual barriers shielding it from the public. The proposed plot of land is currently on private property that the owner is willing to sell to the state.
Patalano said Vietnam veterans in the area are concerned that the gunshots could lead to flare-ups in their post-traumatic stress disorder and that visitors to the nearby Pachaug State Forest could be scared off by the training range.
“We have nothing against the state police, at all,” Patalano said. “It’s their bosses that we have a problem with.”
Dora Schriro, the Commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection, testified to lawmakers that the site is ideal, and if approved, would make Connecticut residents safer.
“In order for the state police to do its job and keep us all safe, the state must have a training facility that prepares troopers for the ever-evolving threats that they face,” she said.
U.S. Congressman Joe Courtney opposes the Griswold site, which is in his district. He favors upgrades at the East Haven range used by the Connecticut National Guard, and at the Meriden training facility used by recruits.
“I believe that the state agencies involved have allowed the perfect to be the enemy of the good," Courtney said in testimony submitted to the committee.