Editor's note: Ever wonder what elected officials do outside their government positions? This weeklong series looks at the other jobs they hold.
GRAND JUNCTION " When he's not penning bills or voting at the state Capitol, Grand Junction Republican Rep. Steve King hands out DVDs that show his wife shooting pepper spray at his face.
The macing incident " which was a demonstration " was caught on film to show women how to defend themselves with the spray and how debilitating it can be. In the video, King can barely move or open his eyes and dips his head in a bucket of water.
"This sucks," he says as he tries to recover.
King and his wife, Dawn, opened American National Protective Services shortly after they married in 1991. Together, they show women basic maneuvers and tactics to overcome an attacker.
"I found out one out of three women can expect to be physically attacked. I started looking at how we can prevent that," King said.
King has trained in martial arts since 1977 and hosts training seminars with his wife at High Desert Martial Arts. Businesses can also hire the Kings to come to an office and teach self-defense on-site. All participants get a DVD to refresh their memory of the moves they learned in class.
Keeping women safe is a personal passion for the couple. Dawn King's best friend was kidnapped and sexually assaulted at knifepoint. Steve King responded to numerous domestic violence and assault calls as a police officer and sheriff's investigator before taking office in 2006.
He still works with the Mesa County Sheriff's Office on occasion. He would spend up to 15 hours a week doing background checks for the office during last year's legislative session, but has put that work on pause for now.
Odd jobs keep King busy in the eight months the state Legislature is out of session. American National Protective Services takes about four or five hours of his time each week. It helps supplement his state representative salary, which he estimates is $30,000.
ANPS also offers bank robbery training to teach bank employees how to get a bank robber out quickly and safely. The training also addresses the trauma of having a gun pointed in your face, something King knows about first hand.
"When I got into law enforcement I got shot at in my first year by a 13-year-old kid," King said. "Getting a gun pointed at you can be a life-changing event."
Reach Emily Anderson at firstname.lastname@example.org.