Kenai Peninsula law enforcement agencies will come together next month to hold a “Toss A Cop!” women’s self defense course at the All American Training Center in Soldotna.
The event will be held from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 21 in coordination with the police departments of Soldotna, Kenai and Homer, as well as the Alaska State Troopers and the Alaska Peace Officers Association.
Soldotna Police Chief Dale “Gene” Meek told members of the Soldotna City Council during a Wednesday council meeting that he met with Homer Police Department Lt. Ryan Browning about offering the class in Soldotna.
As reported by the Homer News, the Homer Police Department began offering a self-defense class for women in response to an incident of sexual assault and stalking this summer, as well as the arrest of a man charged with murdering and kidnapping Anesha “Duffy” Murnane in 2019.
“(Lt. Browning) has taught a women’s self defense course down there off and on over the last year, year and a half,” Meek said during Wednesday’s council meeting. “We came up with this idea to have one here in Soldotna with our central location and sent out a couple social media posts and emails to see if there was interest. There was interest.”
Meek said that within 48 hours of the course being advertised, 120 women had signed up to participate. Meek said the department capped enrollment at the 120 who signed up, and that there are an additional 50 people on a standby list. It’s likely that a second course will be held to meet the demand, he said.
“We want to accommodate all these ladies who are coming out for this,” Meek said.
He added that the course will reuse a lot of Lt. Browning’s curriculum, with some training led by local women who practice martial arts. The class will be offered for women and girls between the ages of 13 and 80 depending on the nature of the curriculum.
Holding the course in Soldotna, Meek said, will give local law enforcement the opportunity to engage with people from communities across the central peninsula.
“This looks like it may be something that we continue as an ongoing engagement because of the number of people interested,” Meek said.
Information and community announcements from the Soldotna Police Department are shared on the department’s Facebook page.
Reach reporter Ashlyn O’Hara at firstname.lastname@example.org.