By Mark Ambrogi
Jesse Barnett is lending his expertise to help church security.
Barnett owns Poseidon Experience, an indoor virtual shooting academy that opened 2 ½ years ago at 9402 Uptown Dr., Suite 800, on the Fishers-Indianapolis line.
“It’s a simulator with no live rounds,” said Barnett, a Fishers resident. “It enables realistic training. As a retired Navy Seal, I bring a lot to the table as far as experience and education.”
Barnett said his business put together a curriculum to support churches.
“There are a lot of issues of how they create a safe environment without overreacting and creating an unsafe environment,” he said. “A lot of (churches) rely on police officers, who are not trained on how to develop a team. They are not trained on how to be active shooters and how to repel active shooters.”
Barnett said churches should have a plan to react for the best outcome.
“A lot of time they come to me thinking the training will be focused on the handgun, when the reality is I train them more on how to communicate and how to anticipate things so they can avoid problems,” Barnett said. “And, more importantly, when they get in that situation, they are not surprised, overwhelmed or stressed to where they escalate a situation.”
Barnett said he gives the church personnel the tools so they can adapt to their environment.
Barnett said they discuss stress management, mindset and first aid. Each participant goes through five hours of handgun training at Barnett’s facility.
“An hour at my range is like four or five hours at a live firing range,” Barnett said. “You’re not moving targets or reloading. It’s consistent repetitive firing.”
Carmel resident Jeff Van Utt, a deacon at Christ Community Church in Carmel, said the five-week training was exceptionally beneficial.
“We covered a wide range of situations and circumstances and how best to handle the situations from verbal communications to emergency fire to active shooter situations,” Van Utt said. “There were probably all the potential situations you could have in a setting like that. We are certainly far better prepared than we were when we walked in the door the first day.”
Barnett said he established a relationship with “Ready Indy” and Hamilton County Community Emergency Response Team. Ready Indy is the Indiana chapter of a national network (Christian Emergency Network) designed to organize Christians in preparedness.
“Both organizations recognize the value of what we do, and within that partnership we have agreed to dedicate significant proceeds from our fees to their nonprofit organization,” Barnett said.
Greg Downey, from Horizon Christian Fellowship in Lawrence, said the campus includes a church, a K-12 school, a Bible college and more. Downey said church leaders looked at hiring a police officer for security but realized putting several dozen members through Barnett’s training program would be more beneficial.
“Now we have over two dozen volunteers who are essentially undercover security agents who are now trained in firearms, communications, security, situational awareness, detention and first aid,” Downey said. “Jesse and his team came on-site, got to know our facility and developed a custom program that fit our needs. Going to the gun range on a monthly basis is a great way to keep up your target skills but is simply not enough if you want to be better prepared to handle a life or death situation under stressful conditions. Before working with Poseidon, we knew that several members were licensed conceal-carry gun owners, but without a plan we knew that it could get chaotic fast. We feel much more confident and better prepared now.”
For more, visit poseidonexperience.com