CWU Chief of Police inducted to RAD Hall of Fame

Courtesy of CWU

Courtesy of CWU

Megan Rogers, Staff Reporter

Chief Jason Berthon-Koch with the CWU Police Department was inducted into the Rape Aggression Defense (RAD) hall of fame. Berthon-Koch has been teaching RAD classes for 18 years. 

“I was very honored by the fact that I was selected for this,” Berthon-Koch said. “It is an individual award given to me, but I couldn’t do the teachings and we couldn’t get what we have at to the level that we’re at now, without all of the assistance and the help from the CWU police instructors, the RAD instructors.”

RAD allows Berthon-Koch to teach people how to defend themselves in dangerous situations.

According to the official RAD website, their purpose is to “provide a truly holistic approach to self-defense education, supporting the necessity of continuous learning in order to provide realistic options for each population as they go through life.”

Berthon-Koch said he first discovered RAD in the early 2000s. 

“I was looking for a program to bring to campus to support students at that time, to teach them personal safety and to teach them ideas on how to be safe in life,” Berthon-Koch said. “I came across the RAD program and it fit everything that we wanted to teach.”

Berthon-Koch said one part of RAD is learning about risk reduction. 

“We start out and we discuss in-depth on personal safety [and] how to reduce our risks of becoming a victim of a crime,” Berthon-Koch said. “We talk about safety in your home, we talk about safety in your car, as you’re traveling [and] safety in an elevator.”

Along with his recent induction into the RAD Hall of Fame, Berthon-Koch has also won other awards including the 2004 CWU Police Officer of the year. He was also the recipient of the Keys to Success Award from the Center for Student Empowerment at CWU, Law Enforcement Hero Award given by the American Red Cross Kittitas County Chapter and the 2016 Susan B. Anthony Award from RAD Systems Inc.

Berthon-Koch was born in Ellensburg, but grew up in Fresno, California. After high school, he joined the U.S. Coast Guard and later moved back to Ellensburg.

Berthon-Koch was an accounting major at CWU. He became a Kittitas County Sheriff’s reserve and said he fell in love with law enforcement. He was also a corrections officer at Kittitas County Corrections Center.

“I love having the ability to help someone who in most cases is experiencing their worst day ever,” Berthon-Koch said. 

Assistant Chief Eric Twaites, who has been working alongside Berthon-Koch for over 22 years, said one of Berthon-Koch’s greatest qualities is his compassion.

“He has an absolute passion for community service,” Twaites said. “Whether that’s been the focal point of the department or being out there with the other officers making sure that we provide the best service to our community.”

Twaites also said that Berthon-Koch has a servant’s heart and wants to make sure everyone is safe and secure.

Berthon-Koch said it is important to have self-defense classes on college campuses. 

“Things can happen anytime,” Berthon-Koch said. “It’s important to spend some time on understanding how we all can be safe in a world that sometimes is not safe.”