NEWINGTON - This coming spring presents a new educational opportunity for female residents in the realm of self-defense.
With assistance from the Newington Rotary Club, the Newington Police Department plans to launch R.A.D. (Rape, Aggression, Defense).
The club presented Community Relations Officer Jamie DeSimone and Sgt. John Zematis with a $2,140 check to purchase equipment for the course at a recent meeting, held inside Elaine’s Restaurant in Wethersfield.
“Going back a couple of years I showed an interest in R.A.D. but at the time we didn’t have the staff or funds to start the program,” DeSimone told Rotarians. “It wouldn’t be possible without your very generous donation.”
Officers are currently undergoing specialized training to teach the 12-hour course, which they intend to offer free of charge to women living in Newington. DeSimone started her own training last spring.
The four-day program begins with a classroom education component. The curriculum includes self-awareness in public settings and defense maneuvers to ward off an attack. One of the main skills taught is how to disable and disarm an aggressor. Participants will put their new knowledge into motion on the final evening, when staff will simulate real-world situations as a practice tool.
“This is by no means a martial arts class,” DeSimone explained. “What we’re looking to do is teach people some easy maneuvers so they can escape safely. Hopefully they never have to use these skills but if the day comes when they do, they’ll be ready.”
R.A.D. is the only self-defense program endorsed by the International Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators, the National Academy of Defense Education and the National Self- Defense Institute.
Newington officers recently assisted Plainville police in their department’s R.A.D. program, offered to friends and family. Students and instructors were outfitted in head-to-toe equipment, which Rotarians helped purchase for Newington’s class.
“We have a close relationship with the department and were looking for a cause to help them with when they told us about this,” President Michael Turgeon said. “We think it’s a worthwhile program.”
Past President LeAnn Morrone Johnson hopes to land one of just a dozen spots in the first class.
“As women and as women in business we need to be cognizant of the dangers,” she pointed out. “If there’s a tool out there I can use to protect myself and my children I want to make sure I do that.”
Officers will continue training through the winter and expect to open registration to the community in April.
Erica Schmitt can be reached at 860-801-5097, @schmittnbh or firstname.lastname@example.org.