TAPS in Tuscaloosa

TAPS Tuscaloosa was started as we at the Tuscaloosa Police Department were looking for ways to connect with the youth in our community. Our concerns were bridging the gap between law enforcement officers and young people. We wanted to develop a program which would educate and mentor youth and create positive experiences between youth and law enforcement officers. One Sunday afternoon in August of 2017, while doing research for another project I came across an article on-line about the Teen And Police Service (TAPS) Academy in Houston. I shared the article with several members of the Tuscaloosa Police Department, the Tuscaloosa City Schools and various community members whom I had spoken with about my desires to connect with youth in our community. A few days after reading the article we contacted Dr. Penn and Chief Lumpkin for more information. In October, a small delegation from our community was invited to Houston to learn more about TAPS. Upon returning from Houston we began planning for the implementation of TAPS in Tuscaloosa. Dr. Penn and Chief Lumpkin visited Tuscaloosa in November to provide TAPS training for TPD officers and community members. In January of 2018, we began our first TAPS class at Westlawn Middle School with approximately forty-five students. The class was a tremendous success and did exactly what we hoped for which was improving and strengthening our relationship with the at-risk youth who were part of the program. We are looking forward to our next TAPS class which will begin in January of 2019.  

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