Seattle Police Athletic Association History

 

 

            The Seattle Police Athletic Association (SPAA) was founded by a group of Seattle Police Officers in the 1930’s.  The purpose of the SPAA was to provide Seattle Police Department (SPD) officers a shooting club.  The club was given the name of The Seattle Police Revolver Club.  The founding of the Seattle Police Revolver Club came about because of the lack of adequate firearms training provided by SPD.  The founders purchased the land (originally 36 acres) that is home to the SPAA for approximately $8,600.00.  In 1943 the founders incorporated as the SPAA and at that time expanded the operations to include not only shooting events/competition/training, but other sporting events such as bowling, basketball, softball, golf, etc.  In 1947, the SPAA deeded all but 3 acres of the 36 to the City of Seattle under a conditional contract.  The deed states that if the City ceases to train police officers at the location, “the title to said property, together with all buildings and improvements, shall revert back to the grantor”.  The property retained by the SPAA consists of the Pavilion, the Range office/retail store, the residence building (duplex), and the area surrounded by the ranges.

 

The SPAA is a private, non-profit corporation owned by the individual Seattle Police Officers that are members in good standing.  The SPAA is not controlled or connected administratively with the City of Seattle or the Seattle Police Department.  At present time, there are approximately 1100 sworn active police officers that are members of the SPAA and approximately 400 retired life members.  Approximately 1000 civilians are members in good standing.  Civilian memberships are allowed after the applicant completes a membership application and a criminal history background is conducted.

 

 The main use of the SPAA ranges is by The Seattle Police Department.  SPD conducts firearms training and qualifications for each member requiring such training/qualification.  The SPAA also allows the Seattle Police Bomb Squad to maintain an explosives bunker on SPAA property.  The SPAA also contracts with other Federal, State, and City police agencies to provide a suitable site for firearms training and qualifications (for example: King County Airport Police, Port of Seattle Police, Medina Police Department, Normandy Park Police Department, Tukwila Police Department, Renton Police Department, Highline School District Security Officers, USDA OIG, Department of Defense Investigations, US Customs, US Immigration And Naturalization to name a few).

 

            Since the deeding of the property to the City by the SPAA,  the two have enjoyed a mutually beneficial relationship.  SPD is able to conduct a myriad of training for its officers while the SPAA has been able to make shooting facilities available to Federal, State, local agencies and civilian members creating one of the largest regional firearms training facilities on the west coast.  Over the years the SPAA has invested in upgrading, modernizing and maintaining the ranges to ensure that the facility is a first class range.  The SPAA facility is currently the only range of its type and class in the state and has been acclaimed as “one of the best ranges on the west coast” by many civilian competition shooters.  Many local, state and international pistol, small bore rifle, large bore rifle and shotgun competitions have been hosted by the SPAA utilizing the ranges for the competitions.

 

In past years,  SPD has housed the Police Academy at the SPAA Range facility.  Seattle Police Officers received their class room training, physical fitness training, mock patrol scenes and firearms training at the Range. (Note: the current SPAA business office is located in the former academy building).  

 

The SPAA is a socially responsible organization which realizes that it  must co-exist with nearby business and residents.  To that end, the SPAA has installed baffle systems on ranges to eliminate errant rounds and to dampen noise; has installed two self-contained bullet traps at a cost of approximately $200,000 to prevent lead contamination of the earth surrounding the range utilized by police officers; has installed a $30,000 video surveillance system to monitor the various ranges for safety purposes.  The SPAA realizes the responsibilities associated with the operation of a firearms training center and along with the City of Seattle, strives to be a good and safe neighbor.

 

The pavilion is available for lease/rent to qualified individuals or organizations.  Some of the renters are the Seattle Police Officers Guild, Relief Association, Athletic Association and Management Association (GRAM) for an annual Christmas party; SPD Motorcycle Drill Team for an annual talent show; SPAA Golf Association for an annual banquet/awards ceremony; SPD Retired Officers Association for an annual Retired officers Banquet; various SPD retirement parties; and many civilian organizations.

 

The impact of not having the “range” for law enforcement officers to conduct training would be twofold - City, County, State and Federal law enforcement agencies would have to expend considerably more time and money to relocate to another range to train and qualify, and more importantly it would cause a safety issue as training would not take place as often due to distances that would have to be traveled to and from another range capable of handling the unique requirements of law enforcement training.

 

The SPAA has been in existence for 50 + years and has been utilized by every type of law enforcement agency from the smallest municipal agency up to the FBI and even the Secret Service detachment that protects our US Presidents.  It should be obvious from this limited description of the SPAA facility, that we serve a very diverse clientele.  We have been able to co-exist with our neighbors while providing a state of the art training facility for the law enforcement community.  Any attempt to displace the SPAA and City of Seattle would adversely impact law enforcement’s ability to conduct firearms training/qualifications in the region.  This impact would eventually create a hazard for the law enforcement personnel as well as the citizenry they serve.  To preserve this facility,  the SPAA and City of Seattle will resist vigorously any attempt to close or reduce the level of service provided at this time.

 

 

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