The facility is named after the Knights Templar, a Christian military order that existed during the crusades. Bill Janson, Templar’s chief executive officer, said he got the idea for the company while working for a private defense contractor in Iraq.
Gun range plans alarm rural neighbors
“The commissioners say they have to think of the good of the county, but they didn’t even let the rest of the county know what was going on.”
Center in Guernsey County would serve police, military, private defense companies
By Josh Jarman
When Robert Heinton retired in 2007, he built his dream house in a quiet subdivision in the rolling hills of Guernsey County.
He wanted to live somewhere a little out of the way, surrounded by the sounds of birds and the occasional mooing cow. Now, Heinton and his neighbors can get used to the idea of living with another sound: gunfire.
Residents of the Willow Springs subdivision outside Lore City learned this month that they would soon be living next to a police and military training facility billing itself as the largest of its kind in the state.
Templar Tactical, a company based outside Cleveland, is planning to build a first-responder training ground on 200 acres of county property that abuts the subdivision.
According to the company’s Web site, the facility will be open for business on June 15 and will feature multiple live-fire shooting ranges, a shooting house, an apartment building with movable floor-plan and breakable windows and doors, and a helicopter landing pad, among other amenities.
Heinton said the project will devastate home values in the area and ruin residents’ quality of life in the subdivision about 80 miles east of Columbus. He said he first found out about the company’s plans after several thousand feet of erosion-control fence and survey stakes appeared behind his house.
He said it was only after he and several neighbors began questioning public officials that any hint of the project came to light.
“The commissioners say they have to think of the good of the county, but they didn’t even let the rest of the county know what was going on,” Heinton said. “I feel there was a serious violation of the public’s trust in the way they proceeded to handle this issue.”
Heinton is circulating petitions asking county commissioners not to sell land to the developers. He said he had 826 signatures as of Monday.
Guernsey County Commissioner Steve Allen said someone always complains when new development is proposed. He said the commissioners had to look at the project from the possibility of job creation.
The company has pledged to hire 10 to 20 people for the facility and said that training exercises could bring in more than 4,000 participants a year. Allen said the spinoff employment of that many people using county hotels and restaurants couldn’t be ignored.
“We have to think about the impact on the entire county, not just one group of individuals,” Allen said. “I think eventually residents are going to be proud that this is located in Guernsey County.”
Lt. Brian Charles of the State Highway Patrol said there is a need for this type of facility, especially in southeastern Ohio. The patrol offers eight SWAT-style training sessions a year for police agencies across the state.
Charles said those classes fill up fast, and it can be hard for law-enforcement agencies to send officers to the two in-state shooting houses at Hocking College in Nelsonville and Camp Perry near Port Clinton.
Bill Janson, Templar’s chief executive officer, said the safety of trainees and the nearby residents would be the center’s top priority. He said the rifle ranges would be surrounded by 20-foot-tall berms and sound barriers to muffle the noise.
Janson said the facility would not be open to the public and would be guarded by 24-hour security. The only groups allowed to train at the facility, besides police and military reservists, would be private defense companies that contract with the U.S. military.
Janson said he got the idea for the company while working for a private defense contractor in Iraq. The facility is named after the Knights Templar, a Christian military order that existed during the crusades.
“The name was selected because of the dual role of the Knights Templar during their time,” Janson said. “First off, they were fierce warriors, which speaks to our military market, and later they assumed the role of protectors, which is indicative of our law-enforcement officers.”
Janson said training would be limited to regular business hours, except for the occasional after-dark session. Despite the company’s plan to be open year-around, he said nearby residents would not hear gunfire 24 hours a day.
“We’re trying to be good neighbors,” Janson said.
The Templar Tactical training facility has everything you’re looking for to conduct the most ultra-realistic training possible, and all in one location. You’ll be training in truly reconfigurable houses where you can breach windows and doors and hit the target multiple times without learning the floor plan. Our instructors are drawn from the ranks of the finest SWAT and Special Operations units in the country, and will push you and your team to the limits…
Officials from Templar Tactical and KLM Global visited the proposed site for a first responder training center slated to be constructed on Range Road in Wills Township Monday to address what they believe are misconceptions about the facility.
The training and facilities provided at Templar Tactical would attract elements from state, local and federal law enforcement, fire and emergency teams, National Guard and Reserve units, and federal agencies such as Federal Emergency Management Agency and Department of Homeland Security.
In the earliest published articles, Bill Jansen and Dennis Dechant were identified only as “former Marines.” Yet in a follow up article, the picture began to get a little clearer.
“Attending the meeting Monday from Templar Tactical were Bill Janson and Dennis Dechant, former U.S. Marines who came up with the concept while working as private contractors in Iraq.”
Oh, private contractors. As in Blackwater USA? That kind of private contractor?
Then there’s another ingredient in the soup – KLM Global.
Templar Tactical, a full service training and security services firm has retained KLM Global to assist them in the development of a First Responder Training Facility which will serve Local and Federal Law Enforcement, as well as various Department of Defense units. Templar Tactical will combine a state of the art facility with the finest instructors in the country.