Columbus laser tag building doubles as police K9 training facility

COLUMBUS (WCMH) — A perfect match – a laser tag facility that has opened its doors during off-hours, so it can be used as a real-life training facility for police K9s and their handlers.

The facility has a live video feed so everyone outside the training room can watch a K-9 and its handler work the simulation room, while other handlers can evaluate and learn in real time from the feed.

Westerville police K9 handler Bryan Schwartz works Fiji in a realistic mission with two other dog handlers from different departments assisting, and learning on the go.

“As something, a mistake is made or we are evaluating the whole scenario overall we can point things out right as it happens,” Mike Pennington owner of Storm Dog Tactical said.

Cutting edge technology meets law enforcement training with many local departments learning together in a near-real life environment.

“I want to try and create an environment they might run into on the street that is stressful for the handler and dog to handle. Then get everybody on the same page,” said Pennington.

This is all courtesy of the Hard Knocks laser tag facility, in a shopping center at the corner of US 23 and  Lazelle Road in Columbus.

“We reached out to a couple of different agencies and said we would offer up the place for free and they could come in and train in the off hours, because we knew that training facilities are hard to come by,” said Hard Knocks Owner Dave Carline.

As handlers gathered around the video monitors watching the exercise, Officer Schwartz can be heard speaking in Czechoslovakian to K9 Fuji and commands to anyone else in the room, “Suspect behind the barrel step out now with nothing in your hand or I’ll send my dog, you will be bit.”

This facility is 16,000 square feet of combat space including a warehouse an office and a home used for training and laser tag for the public. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others and keep the conversation on topic and civil. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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