The event began with a welcome message by Board Chairman, Jeff Gray. He stated, "In 2016, Sheriff Leeper identified a need for a modern training facility for public safety personnel. However, not only did he identify a need, he came to us with a plan for funding utilizing monies earned from the U.S. Marshall Service for housing federal inmates at the Nassau County Detention Center. In January 2017, the Board dedicated 40 acres of County-owned property for the future facility. We broke ground on March 21, 2021 and progress has been steady. Our public safety personnel are dedicated to protecting the lives and property of Nassau County residents and they are deserving of a site where they can maximize their skills through training and participate in exercises consisting of realistic events to help them prepare for future incidents. This site provides those opportunities and will serve our public safety personnel for many years to come".
Following the Chairman's welcome message, Sheriff Leeper spoke. He stated, "This new gun range will allow Nassau County Sheriff's Office Deputies to train better, train smarter and train more often. We will also be able to train with other local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies. This is a professional range, one that is compliant with the Criminal Justice Standards and Training Commission and one our deputies can be proud of".
Sheriff Leeper expressed his gratitude to Secretary of State (formerly State Representative) Cord Byrd and Senator Aaron Bean for their hard work in securing Legislative funding for Phase Two of the Facility which will include a training classroom building, storage building, and paved parking lot. "This building is pivotal for the development of training complex, which will eventually house our training unit. It will be a state-of-the art building with office space, a dispatch training room, several classrooms, a mat room, strength and conditioning room, as well as an airnasium for outdoor training", stated Sheriff Leeper.
The Facility will eventually have a less lethal and de-escalation training room, a shoot house, a jail training facility, a burn building, fire training tower, canine training and tracking area with kennels, special response team obstacle course, a pond for diving and boating rescue training and other endless possibilities.
In his closing comments, Sheriff Leeper stated, "As we conduct this ribbon cutting ceremony today, remember that this is just the beginning of the future of training public safety in Nassau County, which will ultimately provide better services to our residents. And who knows, if we dream big enough, we might just start our own Nassau County Law Enforcement Academy right here. Or what about a Nassau County Public Safety Police and Fire Training Academy? Wouldn't that be something".
Following the presentation, Sheriff Leeper performed the ceremonial ribbon cutting with the five County Commissioners and County Manager by his side. Then, Sheriff Leeper fired the first shot at the gun range.
We appreciate everyone who took time to celebrate this milestone with us yesterday. We look forward to celebrating with you again as future phases are completed.
Public Information Officer