TAPS Academy and Its Connection with the University of Houston-Clear Lake

TAPS Academy was founded in 2011 as a Department of Justice program brought together by the Houston Police Department, Texas Southern University, and the University of Houston- Clear Lake. It is the only Texas Education Agency (TEA) accredited program permitted to grant one high school credit to students upon completion of the 11-week curriculum. Over its 7 years, TAPS Academy has enrolled over 3,000 youth in its programs and trained 400 officers. TAPS programming exists in New York, Chicago, Columbus, Tuscaloosa, the Caribbean, and other locations globally. Recently its Director, Dr. Penn, a Professor of Criminology at the University of Houston-Clear Lake returned from meeting with officials in Australia who are interested in implementing TAPS Academy in the near future.  

               In 2016 TAPS Academy expanded to open the TAPS Center in Houston, Texas. The Center with its 501c(3) status allows TAPS Academy to lead the way it training, teaching, research, and programming to reduce social distance. In order to meet the challenges of this mission, the Center maintains a very special relationship with the Department of Criminology at the University of Houston-Clear Lake. Over the years TAPS Academy has been able to succeed at its mission because of the numerous faculty, staff and students who have partnered with TAPS to provide research, programming leadership, video and production assistance, and training. TAPS Academy congratulates the University of Houston-Clear Lake for offering a minor in Youth and Police Studies to prepare undergraduate students for a vocation in youth and police work.

Recently, Dr. Penn was touched by an email from a former TAPS student (in blue blouse in front):

My name is Rosmeri Duque. I just attended your CRIM 3312 lecture and I introduced myself at the end of it. I graduated from East Early College High School  and worked with TAPS Academy for my senior project and completed a total of 25 hours in doing so. I really wanted to thank you for steering me in the direction to attend UHCL. During our meeting, before a group of my friends and I started our senior project with TAPS Academy, you asked us where we wanted to study and I said I wanted to attend Sam Houston State University and Major in Victim Studies. However, you mentioned what a great university UHCL was and how they also offered criminology. I decided to look into the university and fell in love with the environment and the campus. I am glad to have you as my professor in my first semester in UHCL! I also have an interest in an internship with TAPS and was wondering if I could get more information about it.

TAPS Academy will continue to foster the relationship between the international community and the University of Houston-Clear Lake as a number of students desire a service-learning environment that allows them to learn in the classroom, apply it to the real-world, and reflect upon what has been learned to make a difference.


If you would like more information about the Teen And Police Service (TAPS) Academy, visit us at www.tapsacademy.org. For more information about the Criminology program at the University of Houston-Clear Lake, please contact the Program Chair, Dr. Kimberly Dodson at dodsonk@uhcl.edu or (281) 283-3492.


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