Grand Traverse Sheriff’s Office to Use Camp Pugsley Land
Plans are moving forward for a former prison to get new use, under the ownership of Grand Traverse County.
The Camp Pugsley Correctional Facility closed in 2016. It sat empty for about two years, until plans were announced for part of the site to become home to “Inphastos”, a construction technology company. We told you about that in December.
Now some of the 180 acres of land is being sold to Grand Traverse County, for use by the Sheriff’s Office. It could have a long-term use, as a training site for law enforcement agencies from all over the state.
Capt Chris Clark says, “Around 2011 we had a partnership with MDOC (The Michigan Dept. of Corrections) to utilize the range because the sheriff’s office never had a range to shoot at. The sheriffs office uses the range between 60 and 70 days a year. Those may not be full training days they might be half training days or two hour training days.”
It’s a use of the site that will continue, thanks to a new agreement with the developers of the property. Capt. Clark says, “We hope to close on the firearms range 20 acre parcel at the end of this month. And then soon after that close on the 20 acre pond parcel that was just approved.”
Two deals – at just one dollar a piece – for land that will allow for firearms practice, and a second plot of land for other types training. “That parcel will allow us to have our canines trained in there. We would be able to do scenario training there. A lot of time we have difficulty finding training locations, and this being down there is very beneficial to us.”
And it’s not just beneficial for the local sheriff’s office. “In the past the FBI has use the range, MSP has used the range on occasion. DNR has used the range, also kind of a partnership with NMC so the police academy uses the range which gives us an opportunity to look at future applicants for the sheriff’s office.”
The Sheriff’s Department is required by the state to qualify and train with firearms. This gives the county a way to do that close to home. County Commissioner Rob Hentschel says, “Looking at the savings for law-enforcement, it’s not just dollars and sense. It’s more cops on the beat because they’re not spending a whole day away from the area. They can go and take a half-day to do their training that they need to do on a regular basis.”
And the site could open to other area departments in the years to come. Capt. Clark says, “Firearms range and training facilities for law-enforcement agencies in northern Michigan are very scarce. So this also gives us the opportunity to possibly develop this range for other law-enforcement agencies to utilize it.”