National Self-Defense Institute, Inc. (NSDI)
is a Florida based 501(c)(3) not-for-profit corporation (incorporated 1994) that has created and manages Public Safety 'awareness' programs. It is a community service organization that works in collaboration with a growing national network of public safety departments, colleges, universities, public schools, emergency management agencies, faith-based organizations and in the civic and corporate sectors.



What started as a small program for women reached significance when, in May 1995, NSDI received a letter of commendation from The U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs acknowledging NSDI's concern for female cadets "… the young women at the Air Force Academy will benefit from the information NSDI provided…our course director for self defense (rape prevention) commented that the material will be beneficial to improving our course, (at the Academy)."

NSDI is the Official Sponsor of National Personal Self-Defense Awareness Month, every January, as listed in Chase's Calendar of Events.


In March 2000, NSDI's first major initiative – the 'S.A.F.E.' Program for adult and teenaged women was launched, and after just eight months, the program won the Miami-Dade County LEO (Law Enforcement Officers) Foundation Award in the 'SAFETY' category for Sgt. Paul Lupien of the Miami Beach Police Department (NSDI's Senior Staff Instructor.)

Working with Larry Nadeau, NSDI's Director of Training and member of NSDI's Advisory Board, (the founder & former Executive Director of R.A.D. [Rape Aggression Defense] Systems) and with the support of Chief Bill Berger, Palm Bay PD, (President of the International Association of Chiefs of Police [IACP] 2001-02), who is also the National Director of NSDI's Law Enforcement Advisory Board; Chief Richard Barreto, Rtd., Miami Beach Police Department (member of NSDI's Advisory Board), the Broward Sheriff's Office, and the Florida Regional Community Policing Institute (RCPI), the program’s acceptance gained momentum. 

Responding to the program's successes, NSDI was invited to introduce 'S.A.F.E.' in a one-hour presentation at the national meeting of Directors representing 32 Regional Community Policing Institutes (RCPI) funded by the U.S. Department of Justice Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) in Washington, D.C. and NSDI is proud to be included among their resources.

Today there are ‘S.A.F.E.' Instructors in 33 states plus Ontario, Canada -- thanks to our Host Agencies: The Police Departments of Arlington County, VA; Boca Raton, FL; Davie, FL; Grand Prairie, TX; Hollywood, FL; Key Biscayne, FL; Miami Beach, FL; North Miami Beach, FL; West Lafayette, IN; Westport, MA; Winter Park, FL; The Sheriff’s Offices of Broward County, FL; Lee County, FL; and Osceola County, FL. The Campus Public Safety Departments of Anderson University, IN; Carnegie Mellon University, PA; Drury University, MO; Indiana Purdue Fort Wayne, Univ., IN; Johnson & Wales University, RI; Miami Dade College School of Justice, FL; Palm Beach Community College Criminal Justice Institute, FL; Purdue University/ North Central, IN; Rhode Island School of Design, RI; Rutgers University, NJ; Saint Vincent College, PA; Slippery Rock University, PA; Temple University, PA; University of Massachusetts/ Boston, MA; University of Miami, FL; University of Tennessee/Martin and University of Tennessee/Knoxville, TN. And the Arizona Crime Prevention Association/Scottsdale Police, AZ; Florida Crime Prevention Association; Florida Department of Law Enforcement Capital Police and Bureau of Professional Development; Florida RCPI at St. Petersburg College; Ohio Crime Prevention Association; R.A.D. Systems; Regional Institute for Community Policing, Southern Illinois; Satilla Advocacy Services, GA; Southern Illinois Criminal Justice Training Program; Southwest Illinois Mobile Team In-Service Training Unit, and Toledo Metroparks, OH.

Be 'S.A.F.E.R.'

In May 2002, as an outgrowth of NSDI's relationship with COPS, the need for an easy to use, community-based training tool to get citizens focused on terrorism awareness was identified… and Be 'S.A.F.E.R.' was born.

An acronym for Strategic Actions For Emergency Response and answering the big question being asked in the face of TERRORISM, "What can I do?", Be 'S.A.F.E.R.' charted a new course through interagency cooperation: In meetings with representatives of the U.S. Department of Justice Office of Community-Oriented Policing Services (COPS), Homeland Security, FEMA, Citizen Corps, National Sheriff's Neighborhood Watch program, the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) Volunteers in Policing Service (VIPS) program, to assure we were on the same page (albeit a different venue) to meet the challenge of Homeland Security related to information sharing with citizens in our communities, it was determined that Be 'S.A.F.E.R.', in addition to promoting the philosophy of community policing, would also be a tool to stimulate volunteerism for various agencies at local levels.

Launched with Instructor Training Classes on October 29 & 30, 2002, (with Chief Bill Berger at the helm and hosted by the Miami-Dade and Broward County Chiefs of Police Associations respectively at the School of Justice, MDCC, and Institute of Public Safety, BCC), Be 'S.A.F.E.R.' garnered immediate acceptance. The positive feedback resulted in the U.S. Department of Justice/Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) funding the Florida Regional Community Policing Institute (RCPI) Instructor Class on March 10, 2003, as well as the program's 'national launch' on May 13, 2003, with a Training of Trainers (TOT) Class at the Mid-Atlantic Regional Community Policing Institute/Johns Hopkins (which includes Washington, DC, and the Mid-Atlantic States. With Berger and Harris participating and with attendance by the Deputy Director and a Senior Policy Analyst of COPS, FEMA's Director of Citizen Corps, and Maryland's EMS/Citizen Corps Council leader among the 88 present, the launch was met with such comments, as "this program is what I've been searching for since 9/11."

In August 2003 the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) invited Terri Harris to present Be 'S.A.F.E.R.' and participate at The Spirit of the Law Conference hosted by the FBI Behavioral Science Unit at the FBI Academy in Quantico, VA.  This sparked collaborations with the International Conference of Police Chaplains and the Community Policing Consortium, Washington, DC. and expanded to training for the five-state Western Community Policing Center.

Be ‘S.A.F.E.R.’ earned the national 2003 Homeland Security Award in the field of Information Sharing from the Christopher Columbus Fellowship Foundation, the prestigious and independent Federal Agency that recognizes innovations and the best of American ingenuity. Chief Bill Berger, representing the Be 'S.A.F.E.R.' development team, accepted the award.  And in 2004, MIAMI TODAY honored the National Self-Defense Institute (NSDI) with a Bronze Medal for the Be ‘S.A.F.E.R.’ program.