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Safety Workshops to teach children useful methods for evading attackers


The St. Louis County Police Department has announced the creation of a Safety Workshop for children ages 11 through 16 and their parents.

The Safety Workshops will consist of four, two-hour seminars from 9 to 11 a.m. at the Cliff Cave Library, 5430 Telegraph Road, St. Louis, Mo. 63129.

These seminars are free to the public, but space is limited.

The seminars will begin Saturday, March 27, and continue for the following three Saturdays.

To register or obtain further information, contact Police Officer Ann Geen at 615-0162 or pick up a registration form at the South County Precinct Station, 3031 Telegraph Road.

"With the recent abduction and murder of the 14-year-old Sarasota, Fla., girl and many other reports of child abduction and violence throughout the nation, parents have expressed a concern over how they can keep their children safe," Police Chief Ron Battelle stated in a news release issued by the St. Louis County Police Department.

"The St. Louis County Police Department has always provided police officers to speak to schools and various groups concerning safety issues.

Battelle continued, "These seminars will take our approach one step further by providing children practical hands-on methods for escaping an attacker.''

The workshop will include a total of eight hours of instruction and information.

The workshop will provide six hours of hands-on training by Police Officer Michael Maxwell, who also is a martial arts instructor, the release stated.

"Officer Maxwell has developed an easy-to-understand, practical and effective program for children in this age group," Capt. Terry Roberds, commander of the South County Precinct, stated in the department release.

The participants will learn how to physically break free from an attacker, according to the release.

The remaining two hours of the program will consist of speakers from the St. Louis County Police Bureau of Crimes Against Persons and Family Crime Unit.

"I encourage families to participate in the workshop that the St. Louis County Police Department has developed," St. Louis County Executive Charlie Dooley stated in the department release.

"Children do not put the same emphasis on suspicious activity as adults. Child molesters and abductors usually look like everyday people. Police, parents and children working together to develop a formal plan is a "good idea," Dooley stated.

"Although the workshop will teach the children to physically break free from an attacker, the emphasis of the program is to recognize dangerous situations and get out of them as quickly as possible," Battelle stated.

"We strongly advise all children to run when in danger. However, that is not always possible. By including the parents in this seminar, they are able to observe what their children are taught and how they respond to threatening situations,'' the police chief stated.

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