CHICOPEE, Mass. — After taking some time off due to COVID-19 concerns, the Chicopee Police Department is running its RAD training program this summer to help women protect themselves from potential harm.

The Rape Aggression Defense training course is designed to empower women. Since the department started it four years ago, it has held more than 20 nine-hour classes. 

Women are taught safety techniques through a Power Point presentation before transitioning to a practical simulation. They suit up in protective gear and go through a hands-on demonstration, using the tools they learned during the class.

Chicopee Police Patrolmen Travis Odiorne, who supervised the training, emphasized its importance. 

"A lot of the stuff we teach is just general situation awareness: being aware of their surroundings and things like that," Odiorne said. "We do it for the younger girls also."

"So, being aware of what's going on around them, so if they're ever presented with a situation, they now have some techniques that they learned through this class to use, if need be," Odiorne added. 

The department said the courses are free. Women can sign up on their Facebook page when future trainings are available.