Working with the Williamson County Sheriff’s Office, Leander Police Department officers have been hosting self-defense classes for women ages 18 and older.
The class, taught at the Leander Police Headquarters seeks to inform women how to become more self aware of their surroundings and provides hands-on instruction of basic self-defense techniques.
“I believe that the women received a boost in their self-confidence and empowerment,” said Leander Police Sgt. Helen Garrett, who helped coordinate the latest self defense class last week. “They learned to what variables they can control in their lives, and to be aware of their surroundings with an eye to not becoming victims.”
Classes are taught by Deputy Brandon Schaefer of the Williamson County Sheriff’s Office as part of the county’s Self Defense Academy program. The program is an initiative to help citizens become more aware, safe and confident, Schaefer said.
The first portion of the class is centered on situational awareness, including the dangers personal electronic devices pose in a dynamic world and controlling their environment. Essentially, the class teaches how to avoid potentially dangerous situations, Schaefer said.
The second portion of the class teaches defensive strikes at medium or close range, how to break holds and making use of improvised weapons. The participants then strike pads and are given ideal targets to deter a potential attacker.
“As a result of participating in the class, I am picking up tips to be able to pass some of the information along to other groups of people, such as the younger generations that I interact on a daily basis with that are often preoccupied with social media and on their phones instead of being aware of what is going on around them,” Garrett said.
An active participant in the class last week was Williamson County Sheriff Robert Chody, who created the program to help women get the tools and training necessary to protect themselves. The program also has specific classes for children, teenagers and men.
“This ladies’ self-defense class is another opportunity to give our citizens tools in the event they find themselves in a situation they are necessary,” said Jerod Kosteck, Leander community services officer. “As a police officer dedicated to community service we look forward to opportunities to be proactive, we want our citizens to have extra options.”
The overall goal of the self-defense program is to prepare community members for any situation and ensure all have access, Schaefer said.
“If a citizen picks up the phone to call 9-1-1, they can be sure emergency services is coming, and fast if need be,” Schaefer said. “What is not so certain is when exactly emergency services will arrive to assist. “Whether it’s child anti-abduction, dating violence prevention, or advanced self-defense, the Williamson County Sheriff's Office will do its best to ensure all those who seek training have access.”