By Mike Kruzman /

Sheriff Mike Murphy is addressing concerns that Deerfield Township residents may be feeling about a potential Livingston County Sheriff’s Office training site.

The Sheriff’s Office recently came to a purchase agreement with the Livingston County Road Commission to buy 50 acres of Road Commission property in Deerfield Township. They will buy the property for $1 plus 1,000 hours of enforcement time during projects or for frost laws over the next 3-4 years.

Murphy said that when they started down this road roughly 3 years ago, they thought this would be a good site for a shooting range. The size also lends itself to be useful for other training like K9, drone, and search and rescue. For the project to become reality, a special land use permit from the township would be required.

Deerfield Township Supervisor Alfred Mattioli responded to Monday's meeting with a statement pointing out that there has been no application for a Special Land Use Permit for the land, which would require a public hearing. Mattioli says he has received "many phone calls and emails in opposition to this project" in the last few years, with the biggest complaint being noise and stray bullets. He says if an application is received by the township, they will notify Deerfield residents and those in neighboring townships. He also reiterated that the project "can not move forward without the approval of the Deerfield Township Board of Trustees."

While the proposed gun range would require a Special Land Use permit, the other training functions would not necessarily need it.

Sheriff Murphy on Thursday provided clarification about the project on the Sheriff’s Office Facebook page. He said the property would not be open to the public, and they would typically shoot once a week during normal business hours. Murphy said at the end of the day, he is comfortable reaching out and applying for the SLU permit once the county actually owns the property, and that they will be able to come to an agreement. He added, “I’m sure that in the beginning there will be lots of strings attached to this thing. We don’t want to be “that guy,” we want to be good neighbors. But also at the end of the day, too, we also need to do our best to make sure we have a very well-trained Sheriff’s Office to provide service that the residents of this county have come to expect. Any questions, please give me a call. That’s been the intent going forward…not to shove something down someone’s throat, not to be cloak and dagger secretive.”

Murphy said the Road Commission owns several parcels around the county where they used to do their own gravel mining, but that eventually became too cost-prohibitive. He says when the Sheriff’s Office caught wind of this one, they thought it would be a good spot. The Sheriff invited anyone with questions to give him a call.