Using the slogan “Stronger Together,” the Fort Worth Police Department has teamed with Texas Christian University for classroom training for area officers. The Fort Worth City Council council received a briefing on the joint effort during its work session on March 27.
“We see endless possibility and endless potential to improve the already stellar service we provide citizens of Fort Worth,” Police Commander Neil Noakes said.
Noakes said the project combines the academic side of law enforcement with the practitioners, officers in the community.
Noakes said that so far the joint effort has included a field training research project, which incorporated neighborhood police officers to help them adjust to the areas where they will be working.
Johnny Nhan of TCU said tuition for a master’s degree for officers has been made more affordable, including a 30 percent scholarship.
“Thank you to the city for supplementing that with contributions to make this affordable to the officers,” Nhan said.
But the biggest part of the presentation had to do with the LEAD program, billed as the first law enforcement-related professional development of its kind in the area. The idea is to provide education locally as opposed to sending officers out of town for several months.
The two-semester program awards 12 college graduate-level hours from TCU. It will include guest lecturers, project-based courses on real world issues and policy-based courses.
Kendra Bowen of TCU said the program is open to all North Texas agencies, but no more than 10 people are recommended per class.
“We feel like LEAD will be the perfect opportunity to get law enforcement officials to network,” she said.
The cost is $7,854, a reduction of $11,706 off the graduate tuition rate. Noakes said this compare with an average of $12,000 per officer to go to the Southern Police Institute in Louisville, Kentucky, for three months.
Money for officers to attend the LEAD program will come from dollars diverted from other training funds, Noakes said. In addition, he said, the Fort Worth Police Officers Award Foundation supports the program and is discussing possible funding options.
Fort Worth Police Chief Joel Fitzgerald praised the joint effort. “We can keep these dollars in the city of Fort Worth and leverage a partnership with our great university,” he said.