Council Orders Talks on Police Firing Range

In an effort to resolve safety concerns about the police shooting range, the City Council has directed city officials to begin negotiations with the police union regarding the range, located in Huntington Central Park.

"The council is very interested in settling this matter in a good-faith manner," Mayor Dave Sullivan said Monday. "Many of us have great concern about the safety of the range, and we're trying to solve this."

City Administrator Michael T. Uberuaga said that in 30 days he hopes to resolve issues in a "positive way" and then present a proposal to the council on the use of the gun range.

After a stray bullet struck a home near the range in January, some council members voiced concern that the facility posed a public safety threat.

In recent weeks, the council has met behind closed doors to discuss legal issues regarding the range, located on city-owned land on Gothard Street near Talbert Avenue and leased to Huntington Beach Police Officers' Assn. since 1972.

Richard Wright, president of the police union, said he wants the matter resolved and "will do everything in my power to make sure negotiations stay on track, and I will ask the same from the city. . . . It's an old issue, and it needs to get resolved."

Wright also presented the council with a list of items the union is willing to discuss to resolve the matter, including obtaining a long-term lease and turning over control of the public portion of the range to the city.

The union also has proposed reducing hours of operation to reduce noise, eliminating shooting on weekends and limiting night shooting. It would be agreeable to a financial audit to ensure that money the police union receives from range operations is not used for political purposes.

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