NSPD hosts self-defense classes for women

Interest in program increased after arrest of suspected serial killer

NORTON SHORES, Mich. (WOOD) — The Norton Shores Police Department is sponsoring a three-part program teaching women how to defend themselves and how to avoid attacks in the first place.

First offered before the name Jeffrey Willis and allegations of his violent actions became known, the need for the program was reinforced as details began to unfold about the two murders and attempted abduction he’s accused of committing.

“We had this program in place already, and there was a lot more attention to the program at that point,” NSPD Detective Bruce Morningstar told 24 Hour News 8 Thursday. “We started to implement the program more frequently.”

Based on the national Rape Aggression Defense program, the classes are designed for woman 16 and older.

“This is a great program for female students who are heading off to college, maybe for the first time,” Morningstar said. “We’re hoping to give you those skills so that you are mentally prepared if you get into a situation where you have to defend yourself.”

Part one is described as a discussion about things like situational awareness.

“Whether it’s at home, whether it’s going to work or at the grocery store — basic, everyday life skills that are going to help them protect themselves before even getting in to that situation,” NSPD Oficer Sara Trombley explained.

Part two teaches hands-on tactics for self-defense. Part three is a simulated attack scenario, putting instructors in large padded suits, allowing students to perform simulated attacks scenarios.

Trombley said not to worry about the physical part of the program.

“If you never have set foot a day in the gym, it’s fine. It’s great for anybody,” she said. “Any physical abilities, whether you have physical abilities or limitations, it’s open for anybody.”

The interactive program will be held Aug. 9 at the police department. The hands-on sessions are scheduled for August 16 and 17 at Mona Shores High School. You can register online.