NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Twenty-two Tennessee State University students recently graduated from what’s believed to be the nation’s first Collegiate Citizens Police Academy.
A ceremony was held Nov. 29 at TSU for students who participated in the second session of the program that exposed them to various aspects of police work, including domestic violence investigation, making split second decisions in a firearms training simulator, traffic stop training, and how the Metro Nashville Police Department uses special resources such as SWAT, horses and canine units.
“They get a chance to see what real police work looks like,” said TSU Dean of Students Frank Stevenson, the brainchild of the academy. “And they’re getting it from one of the top police departments in the country.”
Stevenson said the idea came to him amid the cases of police brutality that have permeated the nation. He joined forces with the Rev. Enoch Fuzz, pastor of Corinthian Missionary Baptist Church in Nashville, to bring the idea to Nashville Police Chief Steven Anderson, who immediately embraced it. In a few weeks, the academy was underway.
Anderson said citizens groups across the nation have formed partnerships with police departments to address issues in their communities. But he said the partnership with TSU is the first of its kind between a major U.S. city police department and a cohort of college students.
“The Collegiate Citizen Police Academy is a unique and valuable outreach program that Nashville appears to have pioneered,” Anderson said. “I am grateful that these students devoted six nights during their fall semester to meet with members of our police department and learn more about us.”
Sophomore Javonte Jefferson said he wanted to be a police officer before participating in the program, but wants to even more after completing it.
“It’s just a real good opportunity to get to know the people who patrol here; to see firsthand how it really is,” said Jefferson, a criminal justice major. “This is what I want to do.”
Mikeria Rebb, a sophomore who is also majoring in criminal justice, said she is now considering police work after completing the academy.
“This inspired me,” she said.
Nashville Police Sgt. Mitch Kornberg, one of the academy’s instructors, said he enjoyed working with the students.
“I want them to understand we are here for them,” he said. “They are a part of our community. They’re important to us, and they shouldn’t feel otherwise.”
Stevenson said the academy’s graduates are eligible to apply for the university’s new Tiger Patrol Program, which allows students to work with TSU police in various areas to help strengthen campus safety.
For more information about TSU’s Collegiate Citizens Police Academy, visit: https://www.nashville.gov/Police-Department/Get-Involved/Collegiate-Police-Academy.aspx
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With more than 9,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 undergraduate, 25 graduate and seven doctoral programs. TSU has earned a top 20 ranking for Historically Black Colleges and Universities according to U.S. News and World Report, and rated as one of the top universities in the country by Washington Monthly for social mobility, research and community service. Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University celebrated 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.