Hinesville Police Staff Sgt. Gerald Morris taught his wife and daughter years ago “simple, everyday” preventative measures they could implement to protect themselves.
“I showed them the proper way to carry their car keys when going to their (parked) vehicles,” Morris said. “Just holding your keys like this … it’s a heck of a weapon.”
Morris is coordinating a Rape Aggression Defense System (RAD) class to teach other local women self-defense. The Hinesville Police Department is partnering with the Armstrong Atlantic State University police to offer the one-time self-defense class from 6-9 p.m. Tuesday, April 5, at the YMCA of Coastal Georgia, Liberty County Branch in Hinesville, he said.
The training is free to women 18 years old and older. According to Morris, there are about five slots left. The class is limited to 25 students to allow for more one-on-one training, Morris said.
“If there is a lot of interest, we might look at having a Hinesville police officer go through the RAD instructor training and offer more classes,” he added. The RAD instructors are coming from the AASU police department.
“Our instructors are all certified through RAD,” AASU Police Deputy Chief Wynn Sullivan said. Sullivan said RAD is a national program.
“We offer it at AASU but teamed up with the Hinesville police to offer the course there,” she said. “We always collaborate with area agencies and reach out through them. We encourage women of all ages to attend the course. The more information you have regarding your self-defense, the more confident you’ll be with your safety.”
Morris said if there is good attendance and residents want to learn more about realistic self-defense tactics, the department will consider holding more classes. HPD also may consider holding a similar class for high school students, he added.
“The full class is 12 hours,” Sullivan said. “So if there’s enough interest, of course we will offer the full course. We’re offering this introductory course to gauge interest to arrange our future plans.”
Sullivan said the AASU police department has three officers certified to teach RAD.
“I definitely appreciate the partnership with the Hinesville Police Department to reach out to women and help them improve their safety,” she said.
The RAD class will cover basic hands-on defensive moves in addition to awareness, prevention, risk-reduction and avoidance.
Morris said the class will encourage women to think “about where you park and what to do if you’re followed.”
The police sergeant said many folks, especially young people, allow themselves to be distracted by cell phones, iPods and other electronic devices. Texting or being immersed in a cell-phone conversation while walking can make them a target, he said.
“We’ll also talk about what you can do when you’re home alone,” Morris said.
The HPD officer also said if a woman chooses to carry a weapon like a gun or a can of mace, she should be trained in how to properly use it because a weapon she carries could be used against her.
Morris said basic self-defense moves, such as palm, elbow and knee strikes, will teach women “how to break away from someone if they grab you in an attempt to abduct you.”
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