Police to offer self-defense classes

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By Calen McKinney

Those who want to learn how to defend themselves can soon learn first-hand from a police officer.

After a request from Taylor County Public Library officials, Campbellsville Police will offer a free two-part self-defense class for residents.

The class was going to be at the library. However, based on the amount of people who have said they are going to attend, the classes have been moved to the Taylor County Extension Office.

The first class is Thursday at 5 p.m. The second of the two-part class will be Thursday, Jan. 23, at 5 p.m.

Taylor County Public Library Director Julia Turpin said library staff members have discussed hosting such classes for a while. She said other libraries have offered similar courses and they have been successful.

Turpin said she has taken some of the classes and believes people should learn how to defend themselves from attackers. And those who come to the classes will learn how they can do that.

"Also how to avoid dangerous situations," she said.

Turpin said the classes are for men and woman of all ages. She said those calling about the class have been from college students to seniors.

"I think there's a need in every community," she said. "There's nothing wrong with being prepared and learning a few basic things."

Turpin said those attending should register for the class by calling the library at 465-2562.

Those who come to the class will learn personal safety tips, how to escape from an attacker and likely see some demonstrations through role-play.

"Anyone can be a victim at any time, when you really think about it," Turpin said.

And she said learning how to stop an attack can be empowering and show people they do have the strength to escape.

Instead of limiting how many can attend the class, Turpin said, library employees decided to move the class to a bigger meeting space. She said she recommends those attending go to both classes.

"It's just people who want to learn," she said.

And Turpin said she would like to see the library host the classes again.

"I think it's a great service to offer," she said.

Campbellsville Police Chief Tim Hazlette said police departments commonly offer self-defense classes for residents. He said he is always in favor of offering a class to help keep residents safe and teach them how to protect themselves.

"This was an opportunity to do that," he said.

Hazlette said he believes it's good for people to know how to defend themselves from an attacker, a possible abduction or sexual assault.

"That will keep an aggressor from hurting you or allowing you to become free of them to get to a safe location," he said.

"I think it's good for anyone, and particularly women, to have the knowledge."

Campbellsville Police Officer Andy Warren will teach the class. Hazlette said Warren has a good demeanor and rapport with people and is very knowledgeable.

The goal of self-defense, Hazlette said, isn't always to hurt an attacker. He said those being attacked should know how to escape the situation, get to a safe place or get help.

Attacks are physical and mental, he said. Television and movies can glamorize the physical aspect by insinuating that if a person is hit, they will be hurt badly.

"That's a mindset," he said. "That doesn't have to be that way."

He said it's also a common misconception, because of television shows, that if a person is shot, they will die.

Hazlette said those who have played contact sports might know how it feels to be hit by someone. For those who haven't, he said they might not know how they will react when struck.

Hazlette said the class will focus on ways people can distract at attacker, such as by using sounds and light, to get them to go away.

"You [diverting] attention is when they're identified. You scare them away," he said. "The more trouble they experience, the less likely they'll want to carry on with this thing."

Hazlette said he recommends the class for people of all ages. And he said his officers will be glad to offer them again, should other residents want to learn self-defense techniques.

"What the classes are going to do is to give you the confidence that you don't have to be a victim," he said.