by Victor Lopez
ODESSA--Even with a $233,000 price tag, officials say the training it will provide is priceless. "It is well worth it. When it comes to the safety of our officers, it's very important to me to have this house," Ranger Master Sgt. Carlos Chavez, said.
The newest member of the Odessa Police Department is a 7 room, 2,000 square foot house located on the shooting range. According Chavez, "You don't get this training anywhere else, where you're enclosed, unless you do have one of these shoot houses. Or else you have to go out of town, far away to go to one, it gets expensive. Where as we have one here, we can use it as long as we want."
Every officer in the department, old and new, will go through the maze and train in situations as true to life as possible. "You don't get a lot of encounters outside, as much as you do inside. That's where most of our officers are in. Most of the dangerous calls are domestic calls," Chavez explained.
It's a live ammunition shoot house, constructed of plywood, gravel, rubber and A-R 500, ballistic, steel walls. That means a round of ammo won't go all the way through or ricochet off. Chavez says that's a very important safety feature for the officer's training, "It's very important that here, it doesn't ricochet so you can actually train inside a house, where even over there, we can't control that in a real life situation."
Chavez says the house can be redone to fit the layouts of different houses and scenarios. An extra plus is, it's mobile, "If the range was supposed to be moved for some reason, we can actually take this apart and move it to another location."
After completeing his own certification, Sgt. Chavez says training of Odessa Police officers in the shoot house will begin sometime in May.