Cherokee Nation Marshal Service Teaches Kids How To Fight Against Abduction

Wednesday, February 19th 2014, 10:57 pm
By: Tess Maune

In light of the abduction and murder of a 10-year-old Missouri girl, many parents are having the conversation with their children about what to do if a stranger shows up when they're not around.

On Wednesday, Springfield Police discovered what they believe is the body of Hailey Owens inside the home of her accused kidnapper, Craig Wood. 

Investigators said they don't believe Owens had ever met Woods.

Police said Owens was abducted just before 5 p.m. Tuesday.

Witnesses told police Owens was walking near her home when a man pulled up next to her and spoke to her.  The girl first seemed to ignore the man, then came back to talk to him.  He quickly stepped outside of the truck, grabbed her and forced her inside, witnesses said.

There are plenty of children out there, who don't know stranger and will talk to anyone. But the R.A.D. System for children, which stands for "resisting aggression defensively," teaches kids who to trust and who to run from.

"This is not for you to do at school or on your sister or mom and dad," Sergeant Casey King told a group of four and five year old children. "This is for a bad guy if a bad guy ever tried to pick you up."

It's a lesson a child can't learn soon enough.

 "We should focus more on teaching the basics to our kids because it will pay dividends," King said.

Teaching the basics is part of King's job.  He's an officer with the Cherokee Nation Marshals Service and he's one of only a few instructors in the state certified to teach children how to defend themselves.

"You've got to block your face and you tell them stop with this hand and look them right in the eye," King told the young onlookers.

"Be confident, it's OK to tell an adult no," King said.

It's important, King said, to make sure children understand, while there are some strangers looking to harm children, there are other who will be there to help.

"I try to tell them, find someone who's wearing a name badge if you're at Walmart or at the grocery store," said King.

What he doesn't teach is the phrase ‘stranger danger.'

 "We try to move away from that because not all strangers are bad. I'm a stranger to some of these kids because I'm not in police uniform," King said.

In his classes, King teaches children how to react if someone they don't know offers them candy or tries to trick them into getting in a car.

King said children should not focus on fighting an abductor, but rather getting away.

"We're not endorsing some kind of fighting or karate, that's not us. We just teach basic moves that a kid can get to safety," King said. "But, if you have to use force, use as much force as you can to get away and to get help."

King also spends time drilling three numbers into his students' head.

"What's the phone number if you have an emergency," King asked the class.  "911," the kid quickly shouted.

He said children need to speak clearly and calmly while telling the dispatcher what happened and where they are.

King's 4-year-old son, Ryder, already has that down.

Reporter Tess Maune: "And what would you tell them?"

Ryder: "That I have an emergency."

King said the class is all-encompassing, touching on how to handle things like bullying, fire safety, bicycle safety, etc.

He said the Cherokee Nation Marshals Service hopes to implement the class at schools that fall within the Cherokee Nation jurisdiction.

Any school, or group, that is interested in having King teach a class should contact the tribe.

The course is free.