What started out as a berm for target shooting and an old farmhouse for Barton County Sheriff’s Office training has evolved into a multi-use site utilized by law enforcement agencies around the state.
Barton County Sheriff Brian Bellendir gave an update on his department’s range and training facility northeast of Great Bend to the County Commission Monday morning. A year and a half in the making, he said the range and new classroom building are getting well used.
“It’s a permanent asset for the county,” Bellendir said.
The site includes a 40x65-foot pole barn that houses a 40-person classroom, a garage that is used for vehicle storage and minor repairs and the shooting range. The old house at the location was razed, the ground was leveled, and a patio, sidewalks and driveways were constructed as well.
The total cost of the work came to $79,000, but “no tax dollars were used,” Bellendir said. Funding for the project came from the Law Enforcement Trust Fund, money seized in drug raids, and concealed-carry class and vehicle inspection fees.
Bellendir said he and his staff have done much of the construction work, and there has been help from Barton County Jail inmates. In addition, other county departments have pitched in equipment and assistance.
“This is an example of county cooperation,” Bellendir said.
So far, neighboring counties have used the center, as has the Kansas Bureau of Investigation and the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms. This has led to contacts with other agencies, free training and joint training opportunities.
“This is a benefit to your department and to them,” said Commissioner Don Davis.
The county has owned the property on NE 30 Road east of the Barton County Landfill for several years and the range has been in use for seven to eight years. Commissioners Monday said the decision to purchase the land was a good one.
In other business Monday morning, the County Commission:
• Discussed the upcoming sealing and paving of roads in Barton County. Preparations are already underway for work that will begin in late July or early August. Most roads to be reworked this summer are in the northeast part of the county.
• Approved an update in the employee handbook relative to the National Incident Management System. Emergency Risk Manager Amy Miller asked that the commission consider the change. Under the proposed handbook policy, a matrix is included that describes required training for different county employees.
Miller said the NIMS was created by the Department of Homeland Security following breakdowns in communications following hurricane Katrina. It establishes a standardized nationwide response and training protocol for disaster response.
• Heard a departmental update from County Administrator Richard Boeckman.