Training for women in realistic self-defense tactics and techniques is being offered by the Fairfield Police Department and Fairfield University.

"We just think this is important to get out," said police Sgt. Suzanne Lussier, department spokesman.

To start, there will be an assault prevention class at 6:30 p.m. Jan. 26 in Police Department headquarters, 100 Reef Road. It is open to women 16 or older."This is supposed to be a safe place where women can come and feel secure," Lussier said.

That class will discuss personal protection in public places and the workplace, learning to use intuition as a guide to identify supsicious activity, the victim's process of reporting an assault, among other things. And it will be at that class that women can register for the RAD -- Rape Aggression Defense -- class. RAD is a 16-hour course over four sessions and is designed for the average woman with no previous experience or background in physical skills training.

Lussier said it is common for mothers and daughters to attend the program together to develop and enhance their self-defense options. The first three sessions will be non-contact instruction and demonstrations, while the participants will have the opportunity during the fourth session to try the defense maneuvers. "They can participate in as much of the physical part of the class as they want," Lussier said. "They can pick and choose whatever they feel comfortable with."

Lussier said the times and location for the RAD class will be announced at the assault prevention class on the Jan. 26, but added that those attending the assault prevention class do not have to sign up the RAD class.

All of the classes are free to the public and are not limited to Fairfield residents.

Women interested in participating should send an e-mail to Detective Beth Irizarry at birizarry@town.fairfield.ct.us