Denver Police targeting a new $8.5 million shooting range in Central Platte Valley

Man, pretty soon, the Central Platte Valley will have everything an upper-class urbanite could want: a mass-transit hub, a dog park, more fancy lofts and a brand spanking new firing range, where Denver cops will learn how to shoot suspected criminals.

The planned location for the campus-like facility, which will house both a police firing range and storage for police traffic operations, is a swath of prime city-owned real estate sandwiched between the Platte River and I-25 at 3501 Park Avenue. A bill being introduced before City Council on Monday will ask members to approve an $8.5 million contract with Haselden Construction to build the various structures.

The new facility -- which will be paid for by a $65 million public-safety-system facilities bond approved by voters in 2007 -- has been on DPD brass' wish-list for years. I visited the current range, located in the basement of a Public Works building at 1390 Decatur, last year for a Westword feature story on police shootings. The place is definitely old school, and not in a classic Dragnet sort of way. More like an aging, cinder block bunker sort of way. But at least they let me shoot a gun.

According to city documents, the new project is being designed by Humphries/Poli Architects of Denver. No one at the DPD who knew anything could be reached at the time of this bloggage, so details of the new facility are still unclear. Will it be indoors? Can citizens shoot their guns there? Will it have a Starbucks?

But between this, the new Denver County Courthouse under construction, and all the cool/scary toys the DPD got from the Democratic National Convention last August, it's been a relatively good couple of years for law enforcement funding around these parts.

Better police training on when to pull the trigger in difficult shooting scenarios is probably a good thing. But one major question is still left unanswered: Do you feel lucky, yuppie?

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