Right On Target

WESTFIELD – The Westfield Police Department has a new set of targets thanks to some local financial support.

Not even the recent rain could dampen the enthusiasm as members tried out the department’s five new targets for shooting practice, including two moving targets. The purchase was made possible thanks to a grant from the National Rifle Association Foundation and donations by Mason Funeral Home of Westfield, Absolut Care of Westfield and Inner Lakes Credit Union of Westfield.

“(We are) so appreciative of all the donations, big or small,” said Michael Foti, patrolman and range officer.

“We needed the targets,” Westfield Police Chief Robert Genthner said, noting moving targets is one of the training requirements. “Without this money, we would have never been able to purchase this equipment.”

Foti started applying for grants a year and a half ago. With current budget constraints, the equipment could not have been purchased without outside sources of revenue. Along with the funding for these targets, Foti helped the department secure funding through the Department of Justice and the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services for new bullet proof vests.

Because of case law and newer styles of firearms, certain types of training are dictated for police departments. With the acquisition of these targets from Action Targets, which are required for these types of training, the Westfield Police Department can now train on its own instead of having to partner with the Chautauqua County Sheriff’s Department. Everything that was purchased will allow Westfield’s department to meet these requirements and will also give Westfield’s officers a more complex training and more experience.

After receiving the equipment on May 23, Ranger Officers Foti and Billy Cummings prepared a course for their fellow officers at the shooting range at the Westfield Fish and Game Club. Even in the downpour that afternoon, Westfield officers took turns breaking in the new targets. Before getting his chance on the range, Genthner was looking forward to trying out the equipment.

“I think it’s going to be fun,” he said.