Lee Center, N.Y. - Eric Centro is a welder and inventor by trade and you may recall that we have done some stories with him in the past couple of years as he has created rescue sleds for local volunteer fire departments to use along snowmobile trails. Well he now has created a new invention aimed at helping law enforcement.
We caught up with Centro at his welding shop in Lee Center on Sunday with his latest welding creation that he calls 'Little Chuckie', "I actually had a deputy come to me after some of the stories that we've done on Channel 2 and he came in with a pile of parts and he said that he had an idea to build basically a radio controlled/robotic target, have at it."
In just a matter of a couple weeks Centro has now come up with a prototype moving target that will soon be used at the Oneida County Sheriffs shooting range. It's run by remote control and can actually move pretty fast.
So why is the moving target called Little Chuckie? Centro says the Oneida County Sheriff's Deputy that came to him is named 'Chuck'.
Centro says Chuck told him, "Deputies go to the range and they shoot and they're basically shooting at a paper target that hangs and doesn't move and in real life and in reality you could be chasing somebody along and they move, they don't stay in one spot."
Well, neither does Little Chuckie.
Oneida County Undersheriff Robert Swenszkowski, who has been a firearms instructor for the last 18 years, told News Channel 2 on Sunday, "One of my deputies, Chuck Haynes, showed me what I believe you were talking about in a video on his phone. He stated the movable target was made locally. I found it to be an outstanding piece of equipment just from the observations I made. As a firearms instructor for over the last 18 years I find that the value of being able to make training more realistic makes the training that much better for the person being trained. Static target shooting is primarily performed for Enhancing the fundamentals of using a firearm. It is active shooting or combat shooting, where the shooter is moving in reacting and is under some sort of stress that makes the training more realistic and effective. Devices such as the one you are referring to are very useful in not only improving shooter skill but providing a realistic expectation of how difficult engaging a moving target can be. As we have not yet implemented devices such as this on the range we look forward to testing its usefulness and effectiveness and hopefully it can provide yet another enhanced level of training for the high-risk low-frequency incidents that the members of our office may face that involve the use of firearms."
Oneida County Sheriff Robert Maciol also weighed in on Sunday and says he is looking forward to seeing the new technology put to use, " We're lucky to have creative and talented people in our community and we're looking forward to seeing this technology in action on the shooting range during our training."
So how soon will Little Chuckie be ready for action? Centro says pretty soon, "We're hoping to get this up to the range the next week or so."