A pilot program at a Missoula bar is one organizers hope will become common training for downtown staff.
It's part of a program put on by the Missoula YWCA, asking local bartenders, servers and security staff to help prevent sexual violence.
“What we wanted to do is make sure that our patrons here at the Rhinoceros feel safe,” said Rhino co-owner Brad Martens.
Martens, co-owner Kevin Head and their staff are the first to participate in the new Sexual Assault Free Establishment (S.A.F.E.) training.
“Not all sexual assaults are related to alcohol, but there are some, and we know that if you're a sexual predator looking for vulnerable people to take advantage of, a bar is a great place to go,” said Health Relationships Coordinator Kelly McGuire.
McGuire helped teach the class alongside people from the YWCA. The group also wanted to hear from the people who work in the bar, to learn about their crowd.
“You guys have the expertise on how realistic it is to apply a lot of these things and can educate us on what you're normally seeing,” McGuire told the Rhino staff.
The staff learned how to identify predatory behavior, like a person trying to separate someone from their friends, being unusually attentive, or making someone drink more than they want to. They also learned how to read the situation and how to intervene -- checking in with people, asking if they're OK, if they need a cab or where their friends are.
While this is the first training, organizers hope it won't be the last.
“It would behoove everybody in the downtown area to jump on board with this program,” Martens said.