By Associated Press - Monday, April 11, 2016

JONESBORO, Ark. (AP) - The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission and the city of Jonesboro are planning to build a 300-acre sporting complex and shooting range that can be used by police officers and civilians.

Officials say the $5 million facility will be the first of its kind in Arkansas when it opens on the eastern side of the Craighead County city in 2017.

Jonesboro Police Chief Rick Elliott says the city’s police officers do their firearms training at a range owned by the Craighead County sheriff’s office or at a city park.

The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette ( ) reports that contractors recently built a subdivision near the city park and residents complained about the noise. Elliott also says the firing range was too small to accommodate the officers.

“My goal was to build a new place for our police,” Elliott said. “I ended up talking to Game and Fish and found out they can help.”

The commission’s shooting range coordinator, Grant Tomlin, said that the commission offered to pay for 75 percent of the construction provided that the shooting complex is open to the public.

“This will be a top-notch facility,” Tomlin said.

Elliot said that integrating the public will provide an opportunity to improve community relations with the Jonesboro Police Department.

“If you’re open and transparent and show the community who you are, you can develop trust,” he said.

Tomlin said the commission has yet to approve the Jonesboro proposal, but commissioners are expected to discuss when they meet later this month.

Elliott said the site will be based off the commission’s shooting range in Jacksonville and will include 14 trap- and skeet-shooting stations, a 50-yard pistol shooting range, a fishing pond, pavilions, an archery range and 3-D archery targets in a wooded area. It’ll also be handicapped accessible.


Information from: The Jonesboro Sun,

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