Last week, the Citizens’ Police Academy took a field trip to the Southwest Iowa Law Enforcement Training Facility, where the Council Bluffs Police Department, Pottawattamie County Sheriff’s Office and 36 other law enforcement agencies and Offutt Air Force Base personnel regularly send their officers to practice defensive tactics and to improve their marksmanship.
Located south of Council Bluffs on 192nd Street, the center opened in 2006. It features a large, open floor classroom that can be split into three separate rooms, which is used for continuing education classes or physical training; and four shooting ranges — two 25 yard indoor ranges, and two outdoor ranges of 50 and 100 yards.
The 100 yard range is a more recent addition, a $3 million partnership between Council Bluffs and Pottawattamie County that opened last year.
After a tour of the facility, Sgt. Bo Wake, who is the lead firearms instructor, showed the class examples of each of the three firearms that the department uses — a Sig Sauer P320, a Remington tactical shotgun and an AR-15 model.
Every officer is issued a P320, and the shotguns are available to be checked out from the department armory at the start of each officer’s shift. If an officer wants to use an AR-15, however, they have to pay for it themselves. With the base model and all the customizable parts, including the grip, trigger, optics, magnifiers and handguards, it can cost upwards of $3,000.
While Wake showed the class the department’s new Re