Weapons training trip in jeopardy

Tuesday, June 30, 2009
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SPRINGFIELD — The Springfield Police Department has received two $2,000 certificates for two officers to attend a specialized weapons-training program in Nevada, but the department may not cash them in because it cannot justify the travel and lodging costs, a department spokesman said.

"We can't afford to send them out there," said Springfield Police Sgt. John M. Delaney, aide to Commissioner William J. Fitchet. "In today’s budget, we don't have the money for airfare and room and board."

The organization that donated the certificates, the New American Castle Museum, is now trying to launch a campaign to raise the money needed through private donations.

"I don't think it’s very much," said Patricia Baker, museum spokeswoman. "Maybe $2,000 to $2,500."

The two certificates are to attend the Front Sight Firearms Training Institute, one of the top firearms training institutes in the world, located in Las Vegas, Nevada.

The training facility offers some specialized courses in firearms tactics not taught at the local Smith&Wesson Academy, Delaney said.

Courses range from 2 to 4-Days.

"We don't want to see them go to waste," he said.

The New American Castle Museum sponsors an on-line collection of artifacts via its Web site. It also conducts research and development into various green technologies, and hosts conferences at its Middlefield location for law enforcement, private investors and other groups.

Baker said the organization chose the Springfield police for the donations because it is interested in aiding local law enforcement.

Baker said anyone wishing to make a donation may call (413) 623-0950, Ext. 21.

People seeking more information may go to the museum Web site at www.newamericancastle.com