May. 5, 2022
CWU Police Chief Named to International Hall of Fame
Central Washington University’s police chief has been recognized for his commitment to teaching women empowerment and self-defense skills through the international Rape, Aggression, Defense (R.A.D.) Systems organization.
Chief Jason Berthon-Koch was named to the R.A.D. Hall of Fame for his 19 years of service as an instructor and instructor-trainer. He joins a prestigious group of program veterans around the world who have dedicated themselves to teaching women situational awareness skills and self-defense techniques that are designed to keep them safe.
“It feels really good to be recognized by an organization like R.A.D. that I have developed so much respect for over the years,” Berthon-Koch said. “Being individually recognized for this work means a lot, but this award would not be possible without the commitment and dedication to this training by my fellow CWU police officers. The program wouldn’t be what it is without their assistance and their drive.”
As a young officer with the CWU Police in 2003, Berthon-Koch was looking for a program that would allow him to support members of his community—especially students—in a different way than his day-to-day work. He went on to become an instructor-trainer in 2012, and he has worked with more than 500 instructors around the state since that time.
“I saw the impact this type of training could have on people, and as time went on, I wanted to have an even greater impact,” he said. “I feel very strongly about the need to help women feel more empowered in their daily lives. Being involved in R.A.D. gives me an opportunity to help people feel safe, and that feels good.”
R.A.D. Systems is best described as “a women’s empowerment course,” Berthon-Koch added. It teaches females of all ages that they have the power to take control of any situation with confidence. The training course starts with an educational discussion that includes risk-reduction strategies, that explore different scenarios of risk reduction, such as what to do when you’re home alone and there’s a knock at the door, or what you should do if you’re alone on the highway and your car breaks down.
“It’s mostly about personal safety, with the added piece of being able to physically defend yourself,” Berthon-Koch said. “Self-defense is 90% education.”
Through his work with R.A.D., Berthon-Koch has earned the admiration of thousands of CWU and Ellensburg community members over the years. Now, he has been formally recognized by his colleagues around the US and the world.
“Since he joined the program in 2003, Jason has certified many instructors and has mentored many others in establishing their programs and making them successful,” said Kathy Wright, a R.A.D. executive board member and the director of women’s programs. “We are very fortunate to have him with us.”
Media Contact: David Leder, Department of Public Affairs, David.Leder@cwu.edu, 509-963-1518