Insider Interview: Karen Bartuch, Women`s Tactical



Insider Interview: Karen Bartuch, Women`s Tactical
 Insider Interview: Karen Bartuch, Women’s Tactical Association
Each of my thrillers feature strong female characters. In THE
ATHENA PROJECT, four amazing women take center stage as part
of the world’s most elite counterterrorism unit. A fellow author
described this team as “007 in stilettos,” which reminded me of my
good friend Karen Bartuch.
Karen is President and Founder of the Women’s Tactical
Association, which is dedicated to bringing training in the areas of
firearms, fitness, tactics and combat mindset to female law
enforcement. Karen has worked in the law enforcement field for
more than a decade and recently founded AlphaGirls to teach
(civilian) women to protect and empower themselves in all aspects of
their lives through the same skills.
It’s a real treat to have Karen take part in the Ultimate Reader
Experience this month.
PROJECT, the Delta
leaders scouted out
potential female
operators at elite fitness
events. Had the
Women’s Tactical
Association been around,
it might have been
another excellent
resource for ATHENA team members. Who are your members?
What do they have in common? And what is the mission of the
Women’s Tactical Association (WTA)?
Karen: Thank you for having me; I am honored and humbled to be a
part of the Ultimate Reader Experience - Hello Brad Thor Readers!
WTA members are folks that are proactive about their tactical
training (firearms, fitness, combat mindset and tactics) ranging from
patrol-level officers to K9 to SWAT, military personnel and civilians.
These folks are students for life and not satisfied with the status quo,
they are in constant pursuit of self-betterment whether on the range,
on the street or off-duty.
The primary mission of the WTA is to promote and encourage
training and education among female law enforcement in an effort to
enhance and refine skills in the areas of firearms, fitness, combat
mindset and tactics.
provides a forum
for members to
share their
experiences and
skills and cull
best practices. In
addition, the WTA
opportunities for
its members.
Brad: I was inspired to write THE ATHENA PROJECT for my
daughter. I wanted her and her friends to have strong female
characters to look up to. These characters could have been based
on you. When and how did you know you might be interested in the
law enforcement field? You’ve done everything from patrol to
undercover work. What drew you to the tactical side?
Karen: First off – thank you for the kind words and for writing about
women in such a positive way. I became interested in law
enforcement after a brief stint in corporate America. I graduated from
Northwestern, thought I knew it all and was going to get some great
job, and did, but found myself pretty dissatisfied and/or not
challenged. I felt the need to be a part of something bigger and more
important than myself. I have three older brothers, one a firefighter
and the other two in law enforcement – and they seemed to love
what they were doing. Chicago was hiring at the time so I took the
test and a year later was hired. It was a pretty radical shift at the time
for me but I absolutely fell in love with the job.
The tactical addiction
came a little later in my
career. A few factors
culminated all around the
same time. I responded
to an active shooter
situation on the
Southside where an
officer had already been
shot after attempting a
street stop. The offender fled and was hiding out in an underground
basement entrance (he totally had the superior tactical advantage).
He had pockets full of ammo and a bible and kept on shooting for
over an hour while we waited for the SWAT team to arrive. Of
course, all of the responding officers, being good, aggressive
officers, were chomping at the bit to run down the gangway and
grab him. Unfortunately, that would not have been smart or tactical.
My sergeant had prior military and SWAT experience and I really
respected the way he took over the situation and knew the best way
to attack it. In addition, I was carrying a Sig DAO handgun that I was
OK with but could never had made a 40 plus yard shot with if I had
to. I also didn’t have a rifle. I said to myself right then that it was up
to me – not my department – to get better at my chosen profession. I
started going to more classes and uncovered this entire tactical
community and often was the only female so I decided to start the
WTA. Everyone laughed at me at first and then when I hosted the
first meeting and had 30 women show up I knew I was on to
something special and that had been lacking.
Brad: You use a great term, “self-offense” as a mindset relevant to
law enforcement officers and citizens alike. Can you explain what
that means and tell my fans how they can apply it in their daily lives?
Karen: I swear I cringe when I hear the word “self-defense” – that
implies that you have to wait for someone to strike first or for
something to happen before you respond. I like to take a more
proactive approach about my safety and am completely comfortable
striking first (if justified). Most bad guys are looking for victims (this
is why shooters target schools) – people that seem shy or weak –
not opponents – if you are on the offense (meaning prepared and
proactive) you exude strength and register as someone not to be
trifled with. This doesn’t mean I walk around on red alert or amped
up all day, it is just the opposite, I am more at peace knowing that I
am prepared – physically and mentally. Combat mindset is just as
important as the physical stuff, if not more.
Brad: Among your passions are the advancement/empowerment of
women and the Second Amendment. You live and work in Illinois.
Why is it important that the WTA is headquartered there? What type
of advocacy work are you involved in on these fronts? What are the
greatest threats in these areas?
Karen: I am born and raised in Chicago so
despite the city having its issues it is still my
home and I want to make it better. I am an
outspoken advocate for the Second
Amendment on NRA News and other
conservative media outlets, but also trying
to show that a different side of gun owners
(educated, female, law enforcement and
Illinoisan) in mainstream media with
appearances on local news stations and
radio. I also write for several publications on
firearms safety, education and responsibility. This along with working
with young girls on their leadership, careers and self-protection are
my real passions.
Brad: Which member of the ATHENA team do you most relate to
and why?
Karen: Hands down – Megan Rhodes! Looks and personality-wise:
tall blonde with Nordic features and “always the first one to volunteer
to go into dangerous situations”. Love it!