Romoland angry over training center
Abc News (2009-01-30) Rob Mc Millan
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More Info: Private Mercenaries
, Procinctu Group
By Rob Mc Millan
ROMOLAND, Calif. (KABC) -- The Riverside County Board of Supervisors is being targeted by protestors. Demonstrators are angry about a proposed training center for police and firefighters in Romoland.
The hills of Romoland
are usually quiet. Homes are spread out and there is not much noise. But it might not be that way for long. It is the future site of a multi-purpose training facility for law enforcement.
The facility is not something that excites some local residents, who protested the facility this week at the Riverside County Board of Supervisors
"We don't feel guns being shot off is quite the thing to be happening in that kind of community," said Delores Madariata, a protestor.
Protestors are concerned about the location of the facility, namely its proximity to Harvest Valley Elementary School
, only about one mile away.
Protestors also say that the place would serve as training ground for private armies.
"Every dictator -- which I've read more than once -- had a private army, that's what concerns me," said Ann Weston, Citizens Against Private Armies
John Choate, the landowner and former Navy SEAL
, says that is not what the facility would be used for. He says it will include a shooting range and a training track, similar to one in Devore. Law enforcement groups from across Southern California go to Devore to use the grounds regularly.
Choate says there is such a demand that 25 agencies have already showed interest.
"There are a lack of training facilities and this is why we started this process back in May 2004. Got it approved in January of 2008 and are going to be building in the next couple of weeks," said Choate, CEO, Procinctu Group
Choate says the school being a mile away isn't an issue because he says the shooting range will be indoors.
"Any concept that there are going to be bullets emanating from the property is not true. It's not accurate," said Choate.
Choate says the track could be ready in a few months, but the controversy won't likely go away anytime soon.