Denton County Sheriff’s Office instructors have a tip for women when they’re passing by someone: make eye contact with them.
“Then if they’re a bad guy, they’re going to think ‘Man, that lady can identify me from head to toe,'” Capt. Orlando Hinojosa said.
The tip is just one of multiple lessons that about 50 women in Denton County will get on Sept. 18 as part of the Denton County Sheriff’s Office’s “Woman’s Empowerment Program,” a self-defense class designed by the office for local women.
The program, which first launched in 2017, aims to teach women basic self-defense skills, including the importance of awareness.
“That’s the biggest, biggest thing, that they’re aware of their surroundings and are able to at least get away if something were to happen,” Hinojosa said. “We don’t want anything to happen, but if it does happen, we want to try to teach them to get away.”
The Sept. 18 class marks the first following a hiatus through the COVID-19 pandemic. Hinojosa said face coverings will be optional and that there will not be any person-to-person contact during the class.
The program is open to females age 15 and up. The first portion of the class includes a classroom segment followed by time for punching and kicking bags to learn self-defense moves.
The basic course is held in Denton, Hinojosa said, however the office has taken the class to high schools and organizations across the county.
Class instructors include both civilians and employees with the office.
“We have instructors that have been through domestic violence,” Hinojosa said. “They’ve lived through domestic violence and going through our class gave them the confidence to leave that bad relationship and teach other women on ‘This is what I lived through and I don’t want you to do it.’”
The September class has reached capacity at 50 registered members, Hinojosa said. The office has also scheduled the same class for Oct. 23, Nov. 20 and Dec. 18. Community members can register by emailing WEP@dentoncounty.gov or by calling Hinojosa at 940-349-1515.