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Personal safety awareness

Seminar promotes personal safety for students

By Christina Uptain
On April 13, 2018

Photo Contributed. CRPD discusses personal safety and sexual assault with students on March 5.

On March 5, Kirkwood Community College and the Cedar Rapids Police Department teamed up to host a personal safety workshop for students at the main campus. 

College Resource Officer Aaron Leisinger spearheaded the operation, which comprised of a presentation, stats regarding assault, information on self-defense including a staged altercation and a range of resources for students to utilize in the event of a personal or sexual assault. 

 Leisinger is a 10-year veteran of CRPD and to his knowledge, is one of only two full-time community college resource officers in the country.  

 “The purpose was to not only address individual safety on campus but also carry over into events to be held in April that coincide with what is observed nationwide as Sexual Assault Awareness Month,” Officer Leisinger stated. 

“Data shows that college students, both male and female, are particularly at risk for both personal and sexual assault interactions. I wanted to use my experience as a police officer to help minimize the dangers by using common sense and practical techniques,” said Leisinger. 

Safety of students, staff, faculty and visitors while on any of Kirkwood’s campuses or properties is a top priority, according to Leisinger. Students attending Kirkwood are required to take an online personal violence course prior to beginning classes.  

Even in an area considered relatively safe, local students still need to take precautions to avoid situations and circumstances that allow for targeting and being taken advantage of. 

“It can be easy to fall into a routine and not pay as close attention as we should, especially for college-aged individuals,” Leisinger pointed out. 

“Factors considered a part of normal college life such as renting versus owning a home, a constant flow of varying traffic in and out of living quarters, many cars and people around as well as coming and going at all times and spending large amounts of time out and about away from home are all noticeable to those looking to pray on others,” he continued. 

 A student of karate since the age of 6, discipline and self-defense are not new concepts for Leisinger.

He admitted that even with  extensive training, being in great shape and possessing the capability of taking care of one’s self, without clear and rational thinking, the most experienced fighter can be caught off guard.  

“Technique, brute and even size differential mean absolutely if the person being attacked is prepared to cause a scene, stand up for themselves or just make it difficult for their attacker to continue in their efforts,” Leisinger said to encourage people to do take some sort of action if they perceive danger. 

 He said he wants students to know that trusting gut instincts and feelings as well as not being afraid to fight back when there is a feeling of immediate danger or threat are some of the simplest ways to drastically reduce the chances of being a victim of a personal or sexual assault.  

 There are resources available on campus and in the community for those who have been victims of assault with people waiting to be of assistance.

 Campus Security, CRPD , community emergency services, on-site counseling options and referrals, and in-house support units such as Student Life and Dean of Students can provide help. For more information about campus resources as well as hours, log on to www.kirkwood.edu.

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