Council gives conditional approval to allow joint firing range

Council gives conditional approval to allow joint firing range

NORTH PROVIDENCE - The North Providence Town Council last week gave conditional approval to a memorandum of understanding with neighboring Johnston that makes way for a joint indoor firing range in that town.

Police Chief Paul Martellini explained that the partnership, which would see North Providence Police pay to improve Johnston's firing range, has no drawbacks and urged the council to make it happen. The fact that Johnston already has a firing range, complete with "low-light" training capabilities, made this "a perfect fit," he said.

But council members want to make sure any potential legal issues are resolved before the sign off on the agreement. Councilor Manny Giusti made the motion to approve the memorandum of understanding with the understanding that if the town's legal counsel finds anything wrong with it "we'll have that straightened out."

Martellini said he ran the agreement by Town Solicitor Anthony Gallone and Johnston officials did the same with their legal counsel and no one had an issue with it.

Council President Kristen Catanzaro asked why local police officials wouldn't apply to use some of their $60 million winnings from last year's Google settlement to build a firing range in their own town. Martellini responded that there is no place for it.

North Providence Police officers will fund upgrades to the Johnston firing range and "at this time" will not be charged anything to use it, said Martellini. The project, estimated at $62,000, will be sent out to bid.

"All we would have to do is a cash transfer," he said, a "one-time payment for modifications."

North Providence officers will be required to have an instructing officer on site whenever they are training with guns, said Martellini.

Councilor Alice Brady asked if the shooting range at the Johnston Police Department has been inspected to make sure there is adequate ventilation to filter out "particulate matter" from lead ammunition. Martellini responded that it has been and said planned upgrades will make the facility even better for all officers.