Keith Stewart thought his time with the Duncan Police Department had prepared him for anything — which is why after retiring, he took to heart requests to do a home safety training course. But even he had some things to learn.
“I retired from the police department in 2016, so I’ve seen a lot and have some knowledge as I met people through that job who were victims. And now what I am doing — at the gun store teaching classes here," he said. "I’ve met more victims, and more people have asked me to put something together more along the lines of ‘What can I do at home to protect myself if there is a home invasion, what do I need to know, what do I need to do.’
“So as I started putting this together in talking with some victims, I thought I was pretty well prepared after 20 years of law enforcement, but I came to find out that there were things I didn’t know, that I wasn’t prepared for, that I learned from them. So when that happened, it was, like, ‘Well, I’m the guy who is probably supposed to know after all those years and I’m not even doing all the right things.’”
• Stewart is hosting the free seminar “Safety in the 21 Century” at 6:30 p.m. Dec. 11 at the Simmons Center.
“I’m just trying to raise awareness — if there’s just one person in the room that can use the information and prevent themselves from being a victim, then that’s what it’s all about; it’s worth it then,” he said.
Some of the topics he will discuss include use of force, making a home invasion plan, active shooter survival and the psychological impact of a home invasion.
“That’s what a lot of people don’t understand, having that knowledge and experience, I can explain some of the things that they are going to go through, some of the things they can expect psychologically because it is rather damaging — not just physically but years on down the road psychologically,” Stewart said.
Stewart said there are many ways to protect oneself and a gun is just one tool that some people use in a bigger plan, but a gun isn't the only part of a safety plan.
“This is not about ‘the gun’ — it’s more about protecting yourself and having a plan, about what to do in the event that that happens,” he said. “There’s very little about the gun. That’s just one aspect of protecting yourself.
"You still have to have a plan — your home still needs to be what we call ‘loud and noisy’ — to prepared to stop a home invasion. There’s lot of things to be done that don’t involve a gun to maybe stop them from picking your house.”
Some of the tips and tricks can be as easy as leaving a pair of large men’s work boots by the back door or having a large empty dog bowl in the yard.
“There’s little things like that that people maybe don’t realize — lighting is important, having numbers on your house, people don’t realize how important that is to law enforcement,” Stewart said. “We might pass your house once or twice because you don’t have any numbers on it, so we got to start counting where you are at, so that’s a big one. That’s a cheap fix that could save seconds, and seconds count in a situation like that.”
The room at the Simmons Center can hold 100 people, and Stewart said if they have too many people, he will host another session so everyone has an opportunity to learn.
“There is something everybody can learn from it,” he said.
For more information contact Stewart at 582-470-9508.