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Havre de Grace police dedicate firing range to longtime auxiliary officer

The Havre de Grace police firing range now bears the name of a longtime auxiliary police officer who helped create it, retired Army Col. Leon Haney Sr.

Police department employees, retirees and city officials celebrated the dedication of the Colonel Leon Haney Sr. Police Firing Range Wednesday morning.

The range, near the city's Community Center on Lagaret Lane, is also being spruced up in honor of the occasion, Chief of Police Teresa Walter said.

Haney, who attended Wednesday's dedication, was a Special Police officer for 40 years, joining the force in 1957 and retiring in 1997, she said.

Special Police are volunteers, but Haney had full police powers, according to city Public Information Director Jim Newby, who served in the Special Police with Haney for a number of years.

"He [Haney] started before the state police training commission came in; he was always a policeman, and of course he had all that military training, too," Newby said Wednesday. "All of us in the special police took the training courses when they became available; that's the way Earl [then-chief J. Earl Walker] wanted it. Back then, we had more people in the Special Police than we did in the Police Department."

If it hadn't been for Haney, Newby added, "we wouldn't have the range."

A new sign shows the new name of the range, along with the city seal and the police seal.

"He was actually the one that was instrumental in getting the range that was where it is right now," Walter said, explaining Haney helped with the range's design and construction.

The range opened in 1983 on property that was once part of a city dump.

Haney served with the Maryland Army National Guard and tested equipment for them, Walter said. He used some of that equipment to grade the range and test its load capacity, she said.

"Of course, we have lots of law enforcement agencies that use it – local, state and federal," Walter said about the range, which was once used in connection with a federal sting operation to bust an illegal foreign arms transaction.

The range is being cleaned up courtesy of Vulcan Materials, whose property is next to the range, Walter said.

Several retired police officers attended the dedication, along with Mayor Wayne Dougherty, City Administrator Carol Mathis and Public Works Director Larry Parks, Walter said.

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