Orange County Sheriff Will Ask Board to Fund Updated Shooting Range

Orange County Sheriff Will Ask Board to Fund Updated Shooting Range
Police officers fire weapons downrange at the Orange County Sheriff's Department shooting range in Orange, Calif., on March 30, 2021. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times)
Drew Van Voorhis

The Orange County Sheriff’s Department (OCSD) on April 13 will ask the Board of Supervisors to fund a major renovation for its shooting range and extend the consulting contract for a company that monitors inmates’ phone calls.

The OCSD is seeking the board’s approval to award a $7 million contract to Archico, a construction company, to upgrade the shooting range at the newly renamed Sandra Hutchens Regional Law Enforcement Training Center.

“The safety of the actual range itself needs to be updated, and then they’re also expanding a little bit to be able to include more realistic scenarios,” Carrie Braun, OCSD’s public information officer, told The Epoch Times.

The funding will allow the department to convert the existing outdoor shooting range into a fully enclosed indoor range, with new storage rooms, live-fire ranges, office spaces, a range store, locker room and restrooms, equipment and ammunition storage areas, classrooms, and an armory. K-9 daytime kennels will also be relocated.

“Getting the approval from the Board of Supervisors is step one of a multitude of steps, but I think they’re planning on having the range closed for about a year right now,” Braun said.

The range has already been partially upgraded with target systems that are more adaptive to firearms being used, but more is needed to bring the whole range up to code, according to a staff report. Archico was chosen because the company submitted the lowest bid to the department: $7,146,000 for the entire project.

The department will also ask the board to extend its contract for another year with a consulting company that oversees its phone system operator.

The OCSD has been paying Praeses LLC $275,000 per year to monitor its phone systems since 2019; if approved, the extension would bring the total amount paid to Praeses to $825,000. The OCSD hired the company shortly after the department’s phone contractor, Global Tel Link (GTL), was accused in 2018 of accidentally recording calls between attorneys and inmates, which is illegal.

Braun said Praeses works directly with both GTL and the OCSD.

“They assist us with doing spot checks on recorded phone calls and making sure that the ‘do not record’ list is updated, and just really ensuring that … we don’t have a recurrence of anything along those lines again,” Braun said.

The department is currently engaged in a Request for Proposals (RFP) process to seek a new inmate telephone services provider and updated communications system, Braun said.

“They’re hoping that will include some additional things beyond just phone, like the ability for video calls and incorporating some of that new technology,” she added.

According to the staff report, the proposal—which was delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic—could include inmate communication technology such as email systems, video visitation, tablets, and other options.

Drew Van Voorhis is a California-based daily news reporter for The Epoch Times. He has been a journalist for six years, during which time he has broken several viral national news stories and has been interviewed for his work on both radio and internet shows.