DeKALB – The DeKalb County Sheriff’s Office withdrew its special use permit request to build an outdoor shooting range in Cortland for sheriff staff training.
The news comes after residents near the site shared concerns about the shooting range during a public hearing for the proposed project Jan. 3. DeKalb County Sheriff Roger Scott said he was approached by David Lombardo, president of the Aurora Sportsmen’s Club in Waterman, on Monday and received news Thursday that the club’s board of directors approved a tentative agreement for staff training.
“I thought it was a better choice and one that would cause much less concern for the citizens in the area and certainly will be a benefit to our officers,” Scott said.
Lombardo said he has been meaning to start reaching back out to local law enforcement agencies to begin hosting training for them again after the club’s growth spurt in the past few years. He said he approached the sheriff’s office earlier this week with the offer to draw up a contract to house training for them at the club after reading about the public hearing.
“I thought this was a good place to start as any with our own sheriff,” Lombardo said.
It is anticipated that the sheriff’s office will have access to the range for monthly training by the beginning of February, Lombardo said. He said the agreement is tentative, a contract has yet to be written up and there is no set amount that the sheriff’s office will be charged yet, but the cost will be minimal for the sheriff’s office.
“We’re not looking to make any money off of it at all,” Lombardo said.
Scott said the agreement will not require any new money. He said the sheriff’s office will use funds that already were budgeted for training in 2019.
“I’m very confident that it’ll all work out,” Scott said.
Lombardo said he used to be a part-time sheriff’s deputy at a couple of agencies before he started working with the club, which he has been president of for seven years. He said the club, which is 300 acres and has 2,500 members, is very big on being part of the community.
“This type of thing is exactly what we want to be able to do,” Lombardo said.
Lombardo said he’s especially aware of some police departments nearby that have only one or two officers and not enough tax dollars to help budget for training on their own. He said he’s looking forward to working with more law enforcement agencies in the future beyond the sheriff’s office.
“We want to be able to help everybody,” Lombardo said.