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"Toss around a cop" and learn self-defense? Ladies, here's your opportunity!

Desiree Hagen

The Homer Police department is offering a free self-defense course geared towards women later this month. Participants will learn tactics to de-escalate violent situations.

“I know that people are concerned, particularly to have younger daughters walk, ride their bikes or go around town,” said Homer Police Department’s Lt. Ryan Browning. "We thought it would be a good idea to offer something to the public, particularly for women, because 99.9% of the time, they're the ones we see as victims in domestic violence situations and sexual assaults.”

Browning will be the main instructor for the self defense course being offered later this month. Four other officers will assist Browning in teaching.

Browning said that with recent events within the community, such as the abduction and murder of Anesha "Duffy" Murnane and other incidents of violence towards women, there is a need for this type of training in Homer.

And there has already been overwhelming interest. In the short time that the class has been advertised on the Homer Police Department’s Facebook page, Browning said that over 115 people have registered for the course.

“My phone keeps blowing up and my emails still keep going,” said Browning.

The self defense course plans to address situational awareness, the use of force, some techniques of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and strategies for handling violent encounters. Some of these tactics include how to control an attacker until help arrives or until the victim is able to escape. While the course does include physical contact, the techniques are very low impact.

“We're not kicking, biting, punching, head butting, or anything like that,” said Browning. “They call it jiu jitsu, because it's a gentle art. We're not picking people up and throwing each other down. So, as long as somebody can stand up and lay down and use their hips, I think they're okay to do it. And I would also encourage anybody who's considering it to at least just come be a part of it.”

This will be the first time the HPD has offered this course to the general public, although it is not their first time they have taught the class.

“We've offered a few to hospital staff, we do it weekly with our team.” said the lieutenant. “And we thought it would be a really good idea to try and get it out there to the community, particularly those who are more vulnerable than others.”

Homer Police Department is still looking for a venue to host the event to accommodate the participants, and hope to be able to host the training at a local school gym. Because of the popularity of course, HPD is considering offering future classes.

“I don't know, we might have to continue this hopefully, and make it a thing,” said Browning.

The free self defense course is scheduled for Saturday, June 25 from 3 P.M. until 6 P.M. This course is recommended for ages 13 and older.

If interested, please contact Lt. Ryan Browning by email; or by phone at (907) 235-3150.

Originally from the Blue Ridge Mountains of Southwest Virginia, Desiree has called Alaska ‘home’ for almost two decades. Her involvement in radio began over 10 years, first as a volunteer DJ at KBBI, later as a host and producer, and now in her current role as a reporter. Her passions include stories relating to agriculture, food systems and rural issues. In her spare time, she can often be found riding her bicycle, creating art from handmade paper, or working in the garden.