See the OPD team in action as both students and RSOs here

Cherise Barsaloux, OPD Instructor

Cherise is an instructor for Oklahoma Personal Defense and Safe Kids U Safety and Firearms Education Academy for Kids. Of particular interest to her is assisting mothers who have an interest in keeping firearms safely and responsibly for personal and/or home defense, and instructing children about how to stay safe when they encounter a gun. 

She's currently helping to develop classes for Safe Kids U specifically for moms and kids.

Cherise is an NRA Certified Range Safety Officer.


Jessica Cockroft, OPD Helper

Jessica Cockroft is an OPD helper and certified NRA Range Safety Officer. Her fascination with guns, though starting at an early age, exploded when she attended her first OPD class, Girl’s Day Out. She had only had limited access to firearms before but, as a finally legal twenty-one year old who wanted her license to carry, she was eager to learn and quickly took and passed the SDA class. With those two classes under her belt, she assumed that her stay with the OPD community was over. But when a “Fun Shoot” was scheduled near her home she, of course, jumped on the chance to go shoot more guns. When it was over, she had fallen even more in love with the atmosphere, women, and techniques involved. So when Tammy asked her if she was interested in becoming a helper, the answer was obvious.

Now, having taken the training to earn her certification as an RSO, Jessica continues to learn from Tammy in the classes she has not yet taken and helps in the ones she has. As a recovering tom-boy, she is also working with Tammy to write a series of columns for the OPD newsletter about fashion and concealment. Her hope is simply to be able to take part in what OPD can do in the lives of the women who access its programs, helping to make the community, state, and nation, a safer place.

Dee is an NRA Certified Range Safety Officer and NRA Certified Instructor. More...

Dee Cope, OPD Instructor

I have been married for 20 years, I have one son, a daughter-in-law, I am a Gammy (grandma) to a 3 year old grandson and have another grandbaby on the way.  

My interests include: quilting, scrapbooking, leatherworking, riding my scooter, card making, and of course shooting, I really love the new way to shoot my shotgun that Tammy taught us recently!

I became interested in being an OPD helper to expand my knowledge.  I felt it was a great way to keep learning and to help others to continue learn.  I believe you can always learn, especially when you are helping others.  I have been shooting only a few years and I know that I have a lot more to learn.  I did not grow up with guns in the house, at least not until my parents were divorced.  Then my mom became an armed security officer in Las Vegas.  She carried a 357 revolver.

I too, noticed that there was an increasing amount of violent crimes happening.  I felt that it was time to get a gun and learn to use it.  I took a private lesson at a gun range by a male instructor.  He taught males, not many females.  I felt very intimated and said to my husband I wish there was someone that taught females.  The next thing I knew, he found OPD and I signed up for a class, as they say the rest is history.  I feel very comfortable in the classes, there is no intimidation factor in any of Tammy’s classes.  The number one rule always is SAFETY, and I appreciate that.

Dara Doak, OPD Assistant Instructor

Dara is an assistant instructor for Oklahoma Personal Defense. She first came to OPD as a student and after taking all the classes, began to assist Tammy with the classes. Though Dara has only been handling firearms for a few years, she is living proof that women can excel in a relatively short period of time with training that works for them.

Dara is an NRA Certified Range Safety Officer and NRA Certified Instructor.


Lynn Harris, OPD Helper

I am a strong believer in our constitution and a proponent of the 2nd amendment – our right to own and carry firearms.  I grew up in the southeast where open carry was legal.  It was not unusual to see men strolling about town with a sidearm, so I’ve always been around firearms.  My husband has carried since it became legal to do so in Oklahoma, but I only decided a couple years ago to get my concealed carry license.  I found out about Tammy when she was teaching at one of the gun ranges and took her Girls Day Out class.  Then took the SDA class, got my license, took some more classes and here I am.  I find great satisfaction in helping other women become empowered to protect themselves in this ever changing and sometimes frightening world.

Lynn is an NRA Certified Range Safety Officer

Denise Hughes, OPD Helper

Denise has been shooting for a few years now. Prior to her attendance at Girls Day Out in February 2010, she had never given shooting in general and for personal defense in particular much of a thought. Not having been raised around guns and shooters, Denise had a fear of firearms and the thought of shooting them made her extremely uneasy. But after attending GDO, she began to realize the importance of putting her safety into her own hands.  Shortly after the class she purchased a S&W 9mm and began going to the range. She very quickly discovered that the fear and unease started to decrease and that confidence took its place.  She still has a lot to learn but is excited about helping other women reach a place of security and self-reliance through OPD training.

Denise holds a certificate as an NRA Range Safety Officer.

Louise is an NRA Certified Range Safety Officer
Louise Jennings, OPD Helper

Although one of my grandfathers and uncles had firearms, I myself was raised in town in a home without them.  One time when I was 10, I even held hands over my ears when at my uncle’s farm there was an opossum in the hen house that he shot.  Then on another occasion, my husband decided he needed to teach me how to fire a pistol for protection when he was out of town.  That turned into a total fiasco because when I did feel like I needed to have it in hand, my palms got so sweaty I blocked the hammer with my thumb, rather I jammed it there.  I had panicked and was afraid of shooting through my kids bedroom wall and killing one of them. 
For some time now, however, I have been contemplating learning to arm myself, not only because our society is inundated with drugs and some very evil people, but because I have been concerned about what has been going on at the government level with “our right to bear arms."

I consider myself fortunate – not lucky  because I don’t believe in luck – to have been put in touch with Tammy when I called a gun range to line up some actual training. After the first class, GDO, I went in for a private lesson, then on to BTB and EE.  I have enjoyed all of these classes plus additional ones I’ve taken, not only because they’ve been fun-filled and enjoyable but because I’ve learned along the way.  Additional classes I’ve taken are Self-Defense for concealed carry, Gun Cleaning, Airsoft and RSO.  I have now fired several semi-automatic hand guns and rifles and still truly do not have a preference because I’ve not gone to the firing range enough.  I do however have the Pepper Spray and Kubaton which I carry all the time.  I have now found a friend who has agreed to go with me to the gun range so we can practice.

Forgive my “doubting Thomas’” attitude, but for the life of me, I truly didn’t think anything would come of becoming a Helper, until Tammy requested that any who did not feel committed should save her time and theirs (mine) and not bother with the RSO training.  I trust Tammy, consequently, if she thinks I can handle that job with her training I intend to carry through with her and for myself.  I became especially convinced that I can do this when I learned that Dara hasn’t been ‘packing’ very long herself.  I encourage any woman to go through these classes whether you wish to become an avid NRA member or just wish to become more comfortable around guns and want your mind to think – know you can do things to protect yourself.  Each class empowers a person that much more.  If you only take ONE thing away from a class, it may very well save you from becoming a victim.

Kim Mata, OPD Helper

I was raised in Fox Lake, IL population 4,000. My Dad had guns, but I was not certain why. He would hand us a gun and let us shoot a can, but I never considered a need for protection back in the 60's. After my husband and I married in 1977, my Dad gave us a gun for protection. I never shot it, but we kept it in a cardboard box all those years way up on a shelf in our closet. My Dad would always ask, "Have you shot your gun lately?" "You gotta shoot your gun." " Have you cleaned your gun?" And "you need to carry a gun for protection." Well no, no, no, and why?

A few years ago I began to think about the gun and how important it was to my Dad that I use it for my protection. I decided I wanted to learn to shoot and please my Dad. I can be a slow mover when I am apprehensive about things.
Kim an NRA Certified Range Safety Officer

Finally, I mustered the courage to drive to the local range and ask them if my gun was fit to shoot because I wanted to learn to shoot it. They told me to take it and shoot it to find out. I said I don't know how to shoot it. Reluctantly, they took it and shot it and said I needed to clean it. Well...... I didn't know how to do that either. I inquired about lessons but was quite intimidated by all of the expertly looking people coming and going. Oh me oh my, oh me oh my!

One week after this frightful experience, I came across an article about Tammy teaching women only classes on how to shoot. YES!!! I called her and she scheduled me right away for a private lesson. I learned gun safety, grip, stance, cleaning the gun, naming the gun, and finally, shooting the gun. I called my Dad the minute I got home. He was so happy and so was I. It was fun and fulfilling. Within a month I did GDO, SDA class and applied for my conceal carry license. I named my gun "Molly" in honor of my Mom. Then, I signed up for shotgun class and bought a 12 gauge Remington 870 Express Magnum I named "Trigger"; very empowering. Tammy did another private lesson with me to teach me to completely break down my .22 Mark I Ruger that my Dad had given to me all those years ago. It took four hours, but we did it!

Seeing my enthusiasm for learning about firearms, Tammy asked me if I would be interested in helping with OPD so she can reach many more women like me. I am a former physical education teacher and coach, so I enjoy helping people learn skills, this being a very important one for women to know. I am on a journey to learn as much as I can, helping others along the way. On this journey I am gaining confidence and empowering myself to be prepared to defend myself if need be. That is a very gratifying feeling.

Mary is an NRA Certified Range Safety Officer
Mary Milligan, OPD Helper

I grew up on a farm outside of Tonkawa, Oklahoma.  It was common for guns to be around our home, not so much for safety, but to kill rabbits for food, raccoons & opossum that tried to eat our chickens and a few ugly snakes here and there.  
I was informed never to touch the guns.  No excuses, just no touching. Having seen the impact a bullet could do to an animal, I had no desire to break this crucial rule.  The consequences would be severe and I knew what that meant.
We then moved to town and lived there for about two years. My father passed away during this time, my Mother re-married, and back to a farm we went.

By this time I was around 15 years old with new responsibilities.  Our farm was by a river.  We again had chickens.  I was taught by my step-father how to respect a weapon and how to kill with it. Chicken eating raccoons & opossum were our worst problem.  I also promoted myself to “The Can Killer”! I would stand on the bridge throwing cans into the river from one side and then running to the other side to shot it as they floated by.  Good practice.  (The gun I carry now is named – “Cane The Killer”!)
Years went by and I did not touch a weapon.  Then I noticed our world changing and I felt like I needed to protect myself and family.  That is when I went on a search for someone to help me and I found Tammy.
I took a few private lessons from Tammy and then took my conceal carry class and passed.  I really would not have made it without her.   
In my first class my hands were shaking so badly I could not load my magazine.  We both laughed about this and moved forward.  And from there to now!  
I am part of the Oklahoma Personal Defense team as a helper.  I am a certified NRA Range Safety Officer and have assisted in class room activities such as our Girls Day Out and I assisted (as an observer and target changer) a class on conceal carry.  I have also attended the classes of Between the Threat and the Bang, And Everything Else, and Airsoft. I am a strong believer in self defense and I believe in caring a gun after being properly trained.
My awareness to my surroundings is heightened.  I am careful where I park my car, what is going on around me and if anyone is approaching my safe zone.  Shortly after attending one of Tammy’s classes a stranger approached me.  All he wanted “Was to use my phone”!  My first reaction was timid, I looked down at his feet as he approached me, then I could hear Tammy repeating, “Do Not Be The Victim”!  My training from her classes kicked in!  Needless to say, he was as startled as I was when I shouted at him in a very low deep voice to step away from me.  Needless to say he did not use my phone.

I still have a lot that I want to learn.  OPD classes have helped my confidence in being able to protect myself and my family.  Even though I hope to never have to use these abilities, I know that if the circumstance ever comes up I can “Do It”!