On the list of things assumed in Oak Park village government was the reality that sooner or later a large chuck of cash was going to be needed to overhaul the 40-year-old police shooting range in the basement of village hall. Something like $350,000 has been allocated for the update in recent years, though never spent.
And then last week Chief Rick Tanksley took village trustees and others on a tour of the range. He pointed out that several of the cool features veteran TV cop show watchers would expect as standard issue in a firing range — the gizmo that carries the paper targets forward and back, the doors that swing to reveal a suspect — are long since busted with spare parts no longer available.
But, said Tanksley, for $10,000 a year, Oak Park cops can for now train at other local police firing ranges. Rather he said, let me work during 2014 on a plan to involve other police departments to share the cost of a state-of-the-art virtual training facility. It won't be cheap, he said, but it will be up-to-date and of interest to other departments which might share the costs.
Again, a good example of challenging simple assumptions. We need to do more.