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Student welders save SWAT team money on shooting targets

February 26, 2018

TWIN FALLS, Idaho (AP) — A southern Idaho sheriff’s office saved thousands of dollars by recruiting students to build shooting targets for its SWAT team.

Budget cuts have left the Cassia County Sheriff’s Office tight on money leading it to ask Cassia Regional Technical Center students to build shooting targets for the team, said Jarrod Thompson, the SWAT Team’s director.

It took students Shelby Hurd and Brittany Hardy a year to make six steel targets, The Times-News reported .

Thompson thinks they turned out better than others they could have bought.

The targets are made from AR500 steel which is more durable and improves safety, but is very expensive, Thompson said on Thursday during a visit to the school.

Softer steel can start to pit after continuous use and cause bullets to ricochet, he said.

One target typically costs about $500.

The students were able buy enough steel to make six targets for the same price.

The metal is commonly used to make items such as snow plow blades.

It’s very heavy and hard, said Merrill Bylund, automated manufacturing instructor at the Burley school.

During the project, Hardy laid out the target designs so efficiently that they were able to make one more target than they had expected.

“I pretty much had one shot to get it right,” Hardy said. “I was able to find the different angles and curves and make something someone else needs.”

Hurd handled the wielding portion of the work and had to learn to use a special wire for this type of steel.

“It’s something you just don’t do every day,” she said.

One of the targets features a metal circle that can flip out to help the team practice for a hostage-type situation and hone their precision shooting skills.

“This will help make our team members better shots,” Thompson said.

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Information from: The Times-News, http://www.magicvalley.com

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