Officers teach women how to defend themselves against crimes

BAY ST. LOUIS, MS (WLOX) - Weapons, basic self defense tactics and stalking are only a small number of the issues the Bay St. Louis Police Department addresses in its Women Beware course.

One of the instructors officer Duane Caughlin says the key to prevention is simple.

"It all boils down to being aware of your surroundings look, see what's around you", Caughlin said.

But it's the little things people don't think about.

"Most people get out of their vehicle, they don't pay attention to what's around them, they are looking at the ground and it's easy for someone to come up behind them," Caughlin said.

And if a situation like this were to arise, the department wants to make sure the women stay calm and know their options. They learned several self defense tactics and explored guns.

Officer Weston Mayley showed participants several types of firearms and stressed to them not to be scared of guns.

But Camille Tate was not convinced that is the best option for her.

Tate said, "I'm not too sure. I'm totally familiar with or familiar enough to even have one, but then there are other strategies that I could have, like a flashlight."

The officers also taught the women that even items they carry in their purse such as pens, keys and credit cards can be used as weapons.

All the participants left with a new found confidence when it comes to safety and the chief is grateful these officers donated their time to make residents safe.

Chief Mike DeNardo said, "Our department is really community oriented. Our city administration, everybody, the entire city is like that. We we really are concerned about our citizens."

The department had such an interest in the class they are working on offering it monthly. It is free and open to anyone. If you are interested call (228) 466-5486.

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