O'Fallon Progress

O’Fallon Police host programs for community

O'Fallon Police offer rape aggression defense program for metro-east women

O'Fallon Police Officer Nick Stewart talks about the importance of the program. The first and second sessions are full, but the third session, which begins in August, is still open.
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O'Fallon Police Officer Nick Stewart talks about the importance of the program. The first and second sessions are full, but the third session, which begins in August, is still open.

R.A.D. Self-Defense

The O’Fallon Police has hosted classes for the community for years, and is bringing the Rape Aggression Defense Women’s Self Defense course back after popular demand.

“We’ve had people call and ask why it went away, and the reason was due to the instructor classes, taught by R.A.D. Systems Self Defense International company, offers the instructor certification courses so infrequently, and when they do, usually they are at a great distance like Nevada,” Patrolman Nicholas Stewart said.

The class, called R.A.D., will teach basic self-defense to women through a combination of classroom work and physical activities, according to Stewart.

While there hasn’t been an increase in crimes against women in O’Fallon, it is important for all women to know how to avoid potentially dangerous situation, he said.

“Basically we teach basic escape holds and wrist grab techniques to avert being attacked or held against (her) will, and we simulate real life simulations,” Stewart said. “I think this is a very important program we’re putting on. I’m glad we’re able to offer it. I think it gives women a sense of empowerment where they’re not afraid to go out at night by themselves and gives them some recourse if they find themselves in a bad situation.”

The first of three sessions will begin from 6 to 8 p.m., Thursday, March 3.

Unfortunately, the first and second sessions are now full, Stewart said.

But Stewart said the third session, scheduled to begin Aug. 18 through Sept. 22 is filling up fast.

The classes are limited to 20 participants to accommodate space needed for the activities involved, as the class will take place at the O’Fallon Public Safety Department’s Community Room, located at 285 N. Seven Hills Road.

“We are still taking applications for a wait list too in case the third session fills. We will also save these applications and those women who do not make this class will be given the first opportunity to sign up for our next class,” Stewart said.

Women age 16 and older can sign up for the $25 class. The class is open to everyone, not just those living in O’Fallon.

Coffee with a Cop

The O’Fallon Police Department has teamed up with McDonald’s on March 3 to host the second “Coffee with a Cop.”

The event was open to all and coffee was at the O’Fallon McDonald’s located at 109 E. Hwy 50.

O’Fallonite Paul Reynolds joined the 20-25 people mingling with officers to talk about the neighborhood watch program and others in the town he said he likes living in.

“I’ve lived here for 30 years, and our town is really pretty safe and it’s a good town to live in because of these guys keeping us safe,” he said.

McDonald’s franchise owner Gary Peck said he was excited to help the police department by offering a local venue for people to visit and meet their local law enforcement in a more casual environment.

“It’s a community thing that allows the police to not be demonized because they’re people too just like you and me. This way the public can come have a cup of coffee (on the house) and meet cops so it’s not so intimidating,” Peck said.

Captain Mark Berry was all smiles and handshakes on Tuesday morning at the event.

“I really think what’s important about this is we’re on neutral ground here with this, we’re not at the police station or at a traffic stop, which for some, may be their only point of contact with officers,” Berry said. “So this way as many people in the community can come and have good conversation with us on common ground.”

There were about 20 to 25 people mingling with the nearly 10 O’Fallon Police officers. Berry hopes to continue this event on a quarterly basis at different locations.