The NYPD Rodman's Neck Firing Range is a 54 Acre police training facility operated by The NYPD Firearms and Tactics Section on Rodman's Neck in the Bronx, New York City. It is used for handgun and rifle practice and qualification by the NYPD, the FBI, HSI, New York City Department of Corrections (NYCDOC) and to train probationary police officers, as well as for antiterrorist, disorder control, Emergency Service Units, and OCCB training. The base has 7 rifle ranges with a 230 total firing points for trainees. The base has a school with Lecture Hall & Seven Classrooms with teachers. The base also has training area designed to look like a city neighborhood for practical training exercises. The base possesses one of the World's largest Police Armories and Firearms machine shop for maintenance and experimental weapons development.

The grounds include mock buildings called Urban Training Center /Tactical Village and Tactics House used for urban training scenarios, and a FireArms Training Simulator building (FATS) including an interactive video simulator that was all paid for by the FBI. There is also a specially equipped vehicle armed for disorder control nicknamed "The War Wagon" in case of rioting. The base was used during the 1960s by the National Guard to train riot troops and was an emergency base of operations during the September 11, 2001 attacks. This area is restricted for police and military use only. It has a Helipad and police boat docks.

The area is also used for destroying unexploded bombs. Many bombs have been detonated since 1930, including ones made by George Metesky, the Weathermen, the Black Panthers, the Animal Liberation Front and Al-Qaeda. These explosives are always detonated at the southernmost point that juts out into Eastchester Bay in a crater called "The Pit". Around July 2 every year, impromptu impressive volcanic displays are put on as seized illegal fireworks are destroyed.

History[edit | edit source]

Originally, the range was owned by Samuel Rodman who owned a ferry that ran between Minneford Island (City Island) and Anne's Hoeck (Rodman's Neck), where the bridge is now. Then L.R. Marshall built a Southern-style mansion at the southernmost tip of Rodman’s Neck called Pell's Point on his estate renamed “Hawkswood”. His mansion was converted and used as an inn until 1888, when Parks acquired the property for Pelham Bay Park.

The open firing range's story began when the New York City Parks Department acquired the property for Pelham Bay Park. In 1903 the Parks Department opened Rodman’s Neck to the public with public bathhouses, showers, picnic tables, and cooking facilities. During World War I (1914–1918) the United States Navy used the site as a training facility. In the 1920s Rodman’s Neck was once again used for park purposes.

Between 1930 and 1936 the southern tip of the peninsula was used by the New York City Police Academy for summer training and explosives detonation. It was an ideal site to make bombs safe. The fact that the area was mostly surrounded by Eastchester Bay was considered good, so that any fragments from exploding bombs would not strike people at the remote site. In 1941, during World War II the U.S. Department of War began to use the area as a Navy base and in 1950, the United States Army drained the site and built barracks for soldiers at Fort Slocum. When the Army finished using the land, the site was turned over to the New York City Police Academy, where the police reestablished the permanent training facility and firing range in 1960. Early signs at the entrance said, "NYPD Pistol Range".

The range was supposed to have been a temporary facility, according to the plans laid out by Robert Moses and late Mayors Wagner and Lindsay and Beame. However Mayor Koch favored it becoming permanent.

The range was previously part of Pelham Bay Park. In the late 1980s, Governor Mario Cuomo signed an eminent domain law separating this land from the park and giving the NYPD the right to stay permanently.

In 1976 one NYPD Officer was killed and another was badly injured in The Pit when a bomb went off accidentally.[1]

The range was to have been converted into the NYC Official Olympic Firing Range for the unsuccessful New York City 2012 Olympic bid.

The range now has Biohazard Safety Level 4 lab facilities to deal with radiological devices, Bioweapon bombs and gas chemical weapons.

Community opposition[edit | edit source]

Residents of nearby City Island and other neighborhoods have long complained about the noise from live fire drills and loudspeakers that are operated by drill instructors. Complaints have been filed and there have been promises that the range will be reconfigured to make less noise. Additional concerns include pollution from lead bullets and explosives. Gun noise is now restricted from 9PM to 8AM. They may, however, detonate unexploded bombs at any time.

The Thug[edit | edit source]

According to the New York Times (Cops' Favorite Target Thug, but Just Who Was the Guy, February 17, 2005 [1]), a widely used paper target figure officially known as "Advanced Silhouette SP-83A" or target "B-60" [2] may have been developed in the early 1960s as a likeness of Sergeant Fred V. Worell, an instructor at the range. The target is colloquially known as The Thug.

Possible Closing[edit | edit source]

In April 2007, The NYPD announced it was moving to a new indoor facility in Queens. What this means for the base and area is uncertain. An article in the Island Current, says the area will still be used for destroying unexploded bombs and fireworks, but all gun practice will move to a new indoors facility in College Point, Queens. After the gun ranges are dismantled, the grounds will be remediated and abated of toxic metal compounds.

References[edit | edit source]

External links[edit | edit source]

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