ST. CHARLES TOWNSHIP – Kane County soon could construct a new shooting range for its sheriff’s deputies, and use money paid by the federal government to house certain inmates at the county jail to pay for it.
Next month, Kane County Sheriff Pat Perez and other county officials could present the Kane County Board with a proposal to hire an architectural consultant to help the county craft plans for the new firearms training range, while also laying plans to complete the buildout of the Kane County Jail to house more federal inmates, for now.
The two projects have become intertwined.
For some time, Perez has urged the county to build a new firearms range for his deputies. When the county built its new jail next to the Kane County Justice Center at Peck Road and Route 38 in St. Charles Township, the facility did not include a new shooting range.
The county’s existing shooting range, at which the sheriff’s office 242 sworn personnel train to receive their required firearms certifications, is housed in the lower level of the otherwise abandoned county sheriff’s facility on Fabyan Parkway in Geneva.
That gun range now has flooded and is contaminated with mold and lead, and is unusable.
Last week, Perez brought these concerns to the County Board’s Judicial and Public Safety Committee. He said the need for a firing range is large, as deputies must meet minimum firearms training standards to be allowed to carry firearms.
The sheriff said he is hesitant to seek time for his deputies at other police agencies’ gun ranges, as that would require costs for overtime and for time and ammunition at the ranges.
Instead, Perez and County Board members believe a better strategy could be to build a new firing range at the sheriff’s facility. To pay for it, they will use money generated from the housing of inmates in custody of the U.S. Marshals service.
Perez said the county received $1.5 million last year to house 73 federal inmates.
Should the county create more space to house more federal inmates – and reach an agreement with the Marshals to house still more – the county could stand to collect still more money, Perez said.
To that end, he and board members agreed to consider building out the remaining empty “shell space” at the new jail – space that had been intentionally left open for future expansion.
Perez said he could not say at this point what that work might cost. But he intends to pay a consultant $30,000 to help the county draft plans and calculate cost estimates for the project.
The County Board’s Judicial and Public Safety Committee could again discuss the matter at its next meeting in March.