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Opp PD dedicates firing range to former chief

The Johnny Ray Metcalf Memorial Police Range was officially dedicated Tuesday. Pictured are, from left, his sister, Mary Anderson; wife, Pauline Metcalf; and daughter, Michelle Jones, unveiling the new sign.

The Johnny Ray Metcalf Memorial Police Range was officially dedicated Tuesday. Pictured are, from left, his sister, Mary Anderson; wife, Pauline Metcalf; and daughter, Michelle Jones, unveiling the new sign.


The Opp Police Department’s firing range officially became the Johnny Ray Metcalf Memorial Police Range Tuesday, but city leaders said the man himself was already enshrined in Opp history.

During a dedication service Tuesday morning, those who knew Metcalf best said he is a lamented figure.

“He loved this city; he loved the people in it,” said Metcalf’s wife of 41 years, Pauline Metcalf. “(The firing range) really meant a lot to him. He loved it out here. He was a good man; a good husband; a good friend.”

Current Chief of Police Mike McDonald said he was hired during Metcalf’s tenure, adding he learned about both law enforcement and life in general from the late police chief.

“Not only was he our chief of police, I can truly say he was my friend,” McDonald said. “If you didn’t know Johnny Ray, you missed a treasure.”

Opp Police Department Captain Mark Kyser said Metcalf began his career in Opp in 1969 as an auxiliary officer, a post he held until 1972. In August of 1985, he was made assistant chief of police and was promoted to chief of police in March of 1986. Kyser said Metcalf retired in 1999, but stayed on ask the city’s license inspector until 2007. He passed away in 2010.

“People as me why the police range,” Kyser said. “After he hired me, he sent me to firearms school. We didn’t really have a good range here then. So, we started this, and he’d rather be out here any day than sitting in his office.”

Kyser said the time at the range was as much about bonding as a police force as it was learning about firearms – something he said Metcalf was aware of.

“Every time we used the range, we would always cook for our officers,” he said. “And he was always here. He spent a lot of time, blood and sweat on this.”

“I know he’s looking down on us today,” Pauline added.