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Chief Challis honored at national R.A.D. conference

  • Hall of famer
    Hall of famer  WMPD Chief Don Challis was inducted into the R.A.D. (Rape Aggression Defense) Hall of Fame at the group's national convention in July.  Photo by Mark Mitchell courtesy of the Alumni Association
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Don Challis, William & Mary’s Chief of Police, was recently inducted into the Rape Aggression Defense Systems (R.A.D.) Hall of Fame after over 18 years as a certified instructor. Challis’ passion for the knowledge and safety of women, as well as his service and dedication to R.A.D., made him a shoe-in for the hall of fame. 

“I look at the other people that are in the hall of fame and I think ‘how did I get here’?  The people in there have done some really amazing things to help the program grow and develop, and it’s an honor to be inducted.”

The R.A.D. System is a hands-on way for women to learn how to protect themselves by practicing realistic self-defense tactics as well as being taught how to be aware of the different ways a female can be put in danger.  The program used to be primarily in the Southeast, but thanks to Challis and others fervent about R.A.D., it has spread throughout the United States. 

Challis, along with the four others inducted during R.A.D.’s Annual Conference held in July in Missouri, has earned his spot in the hall of fame.  While working at the University of Iowa in 1993, Challis was introduced to the program and saw a need for it in the Midwest.  He helped establish a base in Iowa, and has resurrected the program everywhere he has worked since then.

Challis is certified to teach the basic, advanced and chemical weapons classes.  He has also spent the last nine years as an instructor trainer.  “It is cool to go to the conferences now and see people who I have trained, and people being trained by people I have trained, and so on and so forth,” he said.

“This has been the best thing I have ever done,” he said.  “It is the most fun and cathartic thing ever.  It has made me into a better person.” 

The desire to teach women about victimization and self-defense is hereditary in the Challis household.  Erin Challis ’14 is following in her father’s footsteps and is currently an instructor for R.A.D.
“It was very exciting at the induction ceremony because when I went to my first conference I had a newborn at home, and now that newborn is a certified instructor,” Challis laughed. 

R.A.D. is a program very close to Challis’ heart.  He said that as long as he is physically able, he will continue to be an instructor and an instructor trainer.

"R.A.D. is a part of who I am," Challis said.