Hewitt: City offers free police course on rape,sexual harassment prevention

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HEWITT, Texas (KWTX) A local city police department is hoping to help women protect themselves against unwanted sexual advances by offering a training taught to police recruits.

(Photo by Montana Brazil)

“The difference in this one is it is based on the system of what we’re teaching law enforcement in McLennan County,” said Hewitt Police Chief Jim Devlin.

Unlike most self-defense classes, the tactics Devlin and several of his certified officers will teach come straight from a course known in the law enforcement world as “SHARP” – sexual harassment and rape prevention.

“This is what we’re teaching the cops and we know that they work,” said Devlin.

Devlin, who is also a Police Academy instructor at MCC, says the six-hour course is part lecture and discussion, part physical demonstration.

“We’re giving them tools to put in their toolbox to use later on down the road if need be.”

Designed by Pressure Point Control Tactics (PPCT), Devlin says the SHARP course provides simple, easy to learn tools women can use to protect themselves from against sexual assault predators.

“The more you practice it, the more that you do it, the faster the response will be and actually the more devastating some of these moves will be,” said Devlin.

Not all the ‘moves’ they hope to teach will be physical: Devlin says those who take the PPCT class, which according to its website was founded on “statistic-based research and focuses on what is real and what works,” will learn mental techniques to avoid sexual harassment.

“The psychological nature of the harasser, some of the things that you can do to prevent that sexual harassment whether it’s in the workplace or outside in your personal life,” said Devlin.

The Chief says while, like many others, City of Hewitt employees get sexual harassment training, not everyone does.

"There might be folks in our community that have never been through anything like that and it may not happen in the workplace, it may be happening out in their personal life, so we want to give them that information so they know what to do and how to respond effectively to try to minimize and cut that off as soon as it happens,” said Devlin.

The City of Hewitt made headlines recently after two female employees lodged harassment complaints against multiple city councilmen, as did neighboring Woodway where a longtime police chief resigned in connection with a sexual harassment case.

Devlin says the class has nothing to do with those, despite the timing, and was being planned before those cases existed.

He says while city employees are welcome to attend the training, the class is targeted toward all women in the community who want knowledge on how to keep sexual harassment and assault from happening to them.

“If it saves one person from one incident, then it’s been well worth it,” said Devlin.

The free SHARP class will be held at the Hewitt Public Safety Facility on Saturday, Nov. 17.

Time TBA.

Women age 14 and up are welcome, (minors must have a guardian present).

For information on how to sign up, visit the City of Hewitt website and/or Facebook page or contact Hewitt PD.