Hopedale Massachusetts Police Department Teaching Women Self Defense Class
by Trent Warner
Later this winter, the Police Department will host a program to teach women the basics of defending against a would-be sexual assailant.
According to Chief Mark Giovanella, one officer, Greg Bach, has already been certified as an instructor in Rape Aggression Defense (RAD) Training.
With donations of $1,000 from the Friends of Historic Hopedale and $2,500 from the Hopedale Foundation, Giovanella said the program will be offered to women sometime after Jan. 1.
In the course, which will span several weeks, women will learn the training and techniques "to develop and enhance their options of self-defense."
While he called physical defense a "cornerstone" of any RAD program, he said basic safety skills are also covered including avoidings risks that leaves women vulnerable to such attacks.
Although the exact dates, times and location of the course have not been determined yet, Giovanella said the planning is well underway.
"It’s something we’ve been wanting to do for a while," he said.
President of the Friends, Toby Booth, said the 501C3 charity organization decided in August to donate the money to the police department.
The Friends, who hold the annual Oktoberfest that draws thousands into Hopedale each year, donates the money raised to various town departments and other causes, Booth said.
Booth said he and the Friends recognize the importance of the program and the absence of such a program in the area outside of a sports club or gym.
Giovanella said the donations are going to purchase the equipment used for the course, including a RedMan suit - a full-body protective suit used in close-combat training.
Other protective gear for students will also need to be purchased in time for the class, he said.
"Hopefully, if the class takes off well, it’s something I’d like to do on a yearly basis," he said.
Zachary Comeau can be reached at 508-634-7556 and firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @ZComeau_MDN.
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