Some DeSoto County residents say they will appeal a zoning board’s decision to allow a police tactical training facility near their homes.

The county’s Board of Adjustment approved the facility this week.

Officials said training at the facility will include small-scale detonations.

Floyd Robertson, a former county official who lives about a mile from the site, says he has a petition of opposition signed by 38 other nearby residents. He says he will appeal the decision to the board of supervisors.

The Commercial Appeal reports the facility would be located on 7.5 acres leased from the Yazoo-Mississippi Delta Levee Board and west of U.S. Highway 61 near Star Landing Road.

Officials say law enforcement officers from Mississippi and Tennessee would train at the facility.

On the new training site…
“This training will save lives,” said Macon Moore, Sheriff’s Department SWAT team leader. “The school is one of only four across the country that teach this, so it’s fortunate for us to have this expertise in our area.”

The adjustment board on Monday night heard an application for a conditional use of the property — 7.5 acres leased from the Yazoo-Mississippi Delta Levee Board — from Alan Brosnan, who operates Tactical Energetic Entry Systems. Horn Lake-based TEES, which Brosnan has run since 1991, provides tactical and breaching (forced entry) training for units in high-risk tasks, including barricade and hostage-rescue situations.

On a motion by board member Mike Hatcher, the panel approved the property use for three years, with the requirement of perimeter fencing and no-trespassing signs warning of danger. Also, operations are to cease by two hours after twilight.

Decisions of the Board of Adjustment may be appealed to the Board of Supervisors by filing a notice within 10 days, Jim McDougal, planning director for the county, said at the meeting.

The panel listened as Robertson, himself a former supervisor, and others cited noise issues, but noted that the closest resident lives a mile away and that Brosnan conducted “test shots” of detonations on March 29 in which only faint “pops” were heard at that distance.

Brosnan, a veteran of the New Zealand army and its special forces, said that since 1991, TEES has trained some 10,000 personnel, including State Department and Defense personnel, and law enforcement including DeSoto, Shelby and Crittenden county officers. Since January 2008, he said, TEES has trained about 750 officers from 276 units across the country.

There will be no pistol or rifle shooting, he said, and only small explosive charges — from 3 to 4 ounces or much lighter — would be used in classes such as explosives handling and breaching doors and windows. He said only 44 days of the year would be set aside for explosives use and courses would involve teams of eight to 16 people.

Source: WMCTV, Commercial Appeal

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