Police weapons school moving into abandoned library 

Residents, workers and students in the Bayshore neighborhood will soon see paint-splattered policemen in the area because the old library branch on Geneva Avenue will become a firearms training facility that uses a "modified" paintball.

Community reaction to the news was mixed: Some welcomed the additional police presence despite it not being an official outpost for the department, while others were "surprised" that neighbors hadn’t been consulted.

Using "Simunition," or a paint pellet described as a "modified paintball," the officers will receive more real-life training rather than just practicing their marksmanship at the range, said Capt. Mike Edwards, who heads up the department’s training programs.

Inside the small space, the department will erect plywood walls to form small rooms and hallways so Daly City police can train for various scenarios such as room entries, hostage situations or domestic violence. The training facility will also be available to other agencies.

Edwards said neighbors should not be concerned about their safety or the noise level because officers would be using the paint pellets during the exercises and plywood would be placed along the walls and windows to protect the property.

"It wouldn’t impact the community at all, except they’d see a bunch of police cars out front," Edwards said. "There’s no booms — no noise."

The benefits of the training that officers previously underwent in temporary plywood halls at their indoor firing range are the increased levels of anxiety and realism during the exercises, Edwards said.

"The realism of the people pointing guns and the bad guys pointing guns adds a level of realism to the training that is invaluable," he said.

City Manager Pat Martel estimated thespace to be roughly 900 square feet. The library has been vacant since the new library branch in the Bayshore Community Center on Martin Street opened a year ago.

"I have given the police chief authorization to move forward with the plans. This will be a training facility available to other facilities," Martel said, noting that other agencies would only pay a nominal fee for the some of the simulated ammunition.

Lois Hetzer lives on Schwerin Street, which intersects with Geneva just doors down from the old library branch at 2960 Geneva Ave., and works as a crossing guard on that corner. She would have liked to see the space used as a police substation but said the sight of the police cars could be of some consolation to her worries about speeding traffic and red-light runners.

Norm Fulbert, the principal at Bayshore Elementary School — the school’s playground backs up to the old library — said the news was a "surprise" to him but noted that he appreciated the police’s help when it was needed at schools.

"You’d think they’d talk to the neighbors," he said.

dsmith@examiner.com

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