ISLIP, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — They protect our lives and need to train in weapon use. But law enforcement has come under fire in one Long Island community.
Residents say training at the Islip town firing range is disturbing the peace, CBS 2’s Carolyn Gusoff reported.
“It sounds like a war zone in our backyards,” said April McDonald, of Islip.
The shooting range, which backs dozens of homes, used to be only for sportsmen. But now the town of Islip has contracted with federal law enforcement, and residents say the blasts of high-powered rifles lasts from sunrise to sunset seven days a week, an assault on their ears.
“You don’t want to sit out in the back,” one man told Gusoff. “You don’t want to sit in your yard.”
“I can’t have a conversation across my table,” McDonald said.
Federal court officers, ATF agents and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers train at the facility. The town now plans to add a contract with the U.S. Marshals Service.
But bringing in hundreds more rounds of firepower has residents calling for a cease-fire.
“I think it’s taking advantage of our community,” said Maryann Esposito.
Councilwoman Trish Bergin Weichbrodt voted against the U.S. Marshals’ contract initially, and is trying to negotiate shorter hours of target practice.
“These officers do need a place to train, and the people who live in the community do need a place to enjoy their peace and quiet,” Bergin Weichbrodt said.
Councilman John Cochrane Jr., an Iraq war veteran, said law enforcement, now more than ever, needs training locations. Islip is the closest outdoor rifle range outside New York City.
“We need places in the open that these men and women can practice how to defend themselves and protect the public,” Cochrane said.
However the vote on the issue goes Tuesday, Islip lawmakers are looking into noise abatement and asking the federal agencies that use the range to help foot the bill.
A spokesman for the U.S. Marshals Service said its employees would only use the rifle range during business hours on weekdays.
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