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CWU Police help women fight back

Joe Coluccio, Staff Reporter - February 27, 2013

Beginning Feb. 18, Rep. Judy Warnick and the Central Washington University Police Department are co-sponsoring a self-defense and firearm safety course for women.

The five classes, located in Nicholson Pavilion 205, began Monday and will also be held Feb. 27, March 4, 6 and 9.

The “first part is education, so everybody has a foundation of what we’re talking about,” Jason Berthon-Koch, captain of CWU Police Department said. “What you can and can not do, how not to become a victim, giving them the tools to not become a victim.”

The first four classes will include Central’s Rape Aggression Defense System, which teaches awareness, prevention, risk reduction and risk avoidance.

The fifth and final class covers firearm safety and handling. Firearms will be loaned and ammunition will be available for purchase.

The classes “kind of picked up a lot of interest,” Warnick said. “There’s been an unfortunate number of different [gun-related] incidents. Talking to a lot of my friends, and women friends about how to handle the guns they have, people are uncomfortable handling the guns they own.”

Nationally certified RAD instructors teach the self-defense courses and each student will receive a reference manual.

“Especially on campus, with late night classes, it’s always a concern with women walking around,” Warnick said.

Warnick originally planned to hold classes last summer, but the Taylor Bridge and Tantalum wildfires delayed classes by almost eight months.

Warnick said she was happy to have Central’s police department involved in the process.

Central offers an opportunity for female students to enroll in PEF 132 – women’s self defense – hoping the success of the classes encourages more female students to sign up.

“Some people are really afraid of guns,” Kayla Lockhart, a sophomore business major, said. “I do not know why someone would be afraid of guns, it would just be because they did not know how to use it. I would say that the best part about [the classes] would be the comfort with the gun. So if you were put in a situation you would know how to use it and not hurt yourself or someone you did not mean to.”

Lockhart said later she highly recommends the classes to her female friends.

“There are some scary people out there,” Lockhart said. “It would give [women] the comfort to walk around outside and not be so scared.”

Warnick is confident that all who attend the classes will be properly prepared for whatever happens.

They will get “more confidence in their ability to handle any kind of situation,” Warnick said. “It is more than just the gun safety, it’s confidence in any situation that could arise.”

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