New multi-million dollar training facility is in the works for Nassau County Sheriff’s Office

NASSAU COUNTY, Fla. — A new multi-million dollar training facility is in the works for Nassau County Sheriff’s Office.

It’s in the first stages of building its new state-of-the-art training facility.

It’ll have two pistol ranges, a rifle range, a large multipurpose training area, a K-9 area, an obstacle course and more.

“We have a large pond that our dive team search and rescue can train (in) as well,” Nassau County Sheriff Bill Leeper said.

On Monday the Nassau County Sheriff’s Office broke ground on 40 acres of land behind Sandhill Recycle Center on Country Road 108.

About eight years ago the sheriff’s office moved into its new administrative building on Citizens Circle in Yulee.

The old sheriff’s office inside portable trailers had mold and leaks, and while the administration building moved, Sheriff Leeper told Action News Jax it was only a matter of time before he needed to find a new location for the gun range.

On Tuesday a trainer with Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission showed me what it’s like to practice here.

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The old gun range is small and only about a dozen or so people can train at time.

“It’s really not efficient for a whole agency. It was built several years ago. When it rains it gets wet in that area so it’s an issue as well,” Sheriff Leeper said.

The entire project is expected to cost around $13 million dollars and the sheriff’s office is still in search of funding to complete the project.

Back in 2015, the U.S. Marshall Service paid the sheriff’s office to house a few federal inmates at its jail and that helped provide some of the funding.

“The county commission has allowed us to set that money aside for this project, so it’s taken us about five years or so to build the gun ranges,” Leeper said.

Sheriff Leeper said it’s important to create a facility like this to help protect Nassau County’s growing community.

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He says that as more people move into the county, the calls for service will keep going up and so the sheriff’s office needs a training facility that can help it keep up with demand.

“Trying to keep up with the growth of our county, keep up with the growth of our call volume means we need to continue training and make sure we provide the best service possible for our citizens,” Leeper said.

The new facility will be able to train other law enforcement agencies and Nassau County firefighters too.

The sheriff’s office tells me it’s hoping to complete the gun range by spring 2022, but the entire project could take years, depending on funding.


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