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University, town of Princeton collaborate on self-defense course

Posted 10/27/16

The Fitchburg State University Police Department, in collaboration with the Princeton Police Department, will be offering a rape aggression defense (RAD) class in the town of Princeton over the next several weeks, part of the community’s effort to cope with the still-unsolved slaying of Vanessa Marcotte, the 27-year-old woman who was abducted and killed while out for a jog in August.

The course originated after a discussion between a Princeton first responder and Fitchburg State Police Lt. Donald Brickman.

“During the conversation it came up that the people of the town were concerned for their safety,” Lt. Brickman said. “I mentioned the RAD program.”

RAD is a program of realistic self-defense tactics and techniques, comprehensive in its approach and beginning with awareness, prevention, risk reduction and avoidance and progressing to the basics of hands-on defensive training.

Lt. Brickman is a certified RAD instructor, and teaches several courses a year to female students and employees – as well as female friends of students and employees – at Fitchburg State. The 12-hour course is offered over a period of four three-hour sessions, with the final class including an attack simulation. The simulation is voluntary, but Lt. Brickman notes that most women who take part in it leave the class feeling empowered.

Within 24 hours of the town of Princeton announcing the free class for town residents on its Facebook page, all 20 slots for the class were filled (and there’s a waiting list for addition slots). The training begins this Friday, Oct. 28, with Lt. Brickman and other certified instructors leading the class.

“We are honored we can provide this service to the Princeton community,” Fitchburg State University Police Chief Michael J. Cloutier said. “The outreach supports the university’s efforts to engage with our wider community and we are grateful for Princeton’s invitation.”

“I would like to thank Chief Cloutier, Fitchburg State Police and Fitchburg State University for their assistance in bringing the RAD program to Princeton,” Princeton Police Chief Michele Powers said. “We feel this program will give our residents important skills to help protect themselves should the need arise.  We look forward to this joint collaboration between our departments.”

Fitchburg State will also be hosting training for RAD instructors in January, where representatives from other public safety agencies will be equipped to bring the course back to their constituencies.

The university is also continuing its RAD training for members of the campus community.

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