TAPS is Different from Traditional Youth and Police Programs
TAPS places at-risk teens on equal footing with police, in order to exchange ideas and learn from each other. The program brings together the best of community policing along with lessons learned from Drug Abuse Resistance Education (D.A.R.E.), the Gang Resistance Education And Training (G.R.E.A.T.) Program, Citizen's Police Academy, Explorers and other school- and community-based initiatives to move to the next phase of community policing to actively engage one of the least-participatory groups in the community: at-risk teens.
It is awe inspiring to see at-risk teens and police working together to understand why crime occurs and most importantly, what to do about it. Tapping into this resource creates a synergistic outcome that moves the discussion past “us” verses “them”, so that police are seen as assets to the community and youth move from being at-risk to at-promise.
TAPS Center is research-based and operates with a goal to change the way teens think about police, as well as how police think about at-risk teens.
"TAPS...among its goals is to improve interactions between police and at-risk teenagers. It's the kind of program needed as the nation's methods of policing undergo intense scrutiny and public-police relations are frayed."
- Houston Chronicle, Aug. 22, 2016
The Teen and Police Service Center
In 2016 with growth of the TAPS signature program, TAPS Academy, the TAPS Center opened in order to respond to the need for a location focused on providing Teaching, Training, Programs and Research to reduce the social distance between all youth and police.
At Risk and Reducing Social Distance
Although the TAPS Center provides programming for all youth (ages 10-24), its focus is that of at-risk youth according to the definition provided by the Texas Education Agency.
Thus, we believe teaching skills through our programming, providing training to build relationships between police and youth and constantly researching to improve evidence-based practices is the TAPS way to a better community for all.
We are going where we have never gone. To do what we have never done. To have what we have never had. And to no longer be an at-risk kid, but an at-promise teen.
- The TAPS Creed
Dedicated to Helping Youth and Police Be the Best They Can Be
Our leadership puts theory into practice, while balancing experience with the voice of youth in order to bring 21st Century Policing practices to communities.
Dr. Everette Penn
Professor of Criminology at University of Houston - Clear Lake
As a criminologist, Dr. Everette Penn has numerous publications and international presentations on youth, crime prevention, race and crime.
He is the co-author of the book Race and Juvenile Justice and author of Texas Juvenile Justice. He brings the academic rigor and practical community crime prevention experience to lead TAPS Academy as Founder and Principle Investigator.
Assistant Chief Brian Lumpkin (Ret.)
East Patrol Command, Houston Police Department
A 30-year veteran of the Houston Police department, Assistant Chief Brian Lumpkin (Ret.) was assigned to East Patrol Command, which oversees the patrol operations at four patrol stations.
His career and leadership is vital in managing the law enforcement mentors of TAPS Academy-Houston, including personnel and participation. Chief Lumpkin’s leadership has been instrumental in launching the TAPS Academy program.
Dr. Chenelle A. Jones
National Director of Research
Dr. Chenelle A. Jones is Assistant Dean of Community Engagement and Chair of the Public Safety Programs at Franklin University.
Dr. Jones has spoken at national conferences on issues of policing, disproportionate minority contact (DMC), and comparative issues in criminal justice. Dr. Jones uses her knowledge and research interests in policing, race and crime, and juvenile delinquency to ensure TAPS Academy is tackling important and relevant issues that affect today’s at-risk youth.
Matthew J. Wilmaning, MS
Project Director, TAPS Houston
Mr. Wilmaning is the graduate of the University of Houston-Clear Lake. He holds degrees in Biology, Criminology and an advanced degree in Psychology.
He is a contributing author to the book Intersectional Pedagogy: Complicating Identity and Social Justice, a guest lecturer on the topic of toxic masculinity and completed a 500-hour internship in less than one semester. He is very passionate about the TAPS Academy mission. In his spare time, he enjoys long-distance hiking, motorcycling and martial arts. He is the step-father of an amazing teen daughter and welcomed his playful son into the world in April of 2018.
Pete Melchor, MA
Program Manager, TAPS Houston
Pete Melchor is the Program Manager for TAPS Academy. Prior to devoting his full-time work with TAPS, Pete is an adjunct professor at the University of Houston Clear Lake teaching undergraduate work in Criminology.
Pete served 22 honorable years in the United States Navy retiring from active duty in 2005. As a highly decorated Chief Petty Officer, he has served in many theater of operations including Desert Storm, Desert Fox and Southern Watch. Furthermore, he brings a vast amount of experience and knowledge in the criminal justice field including corrections, law enforcement and juvenile justice. In addition to being a program manager and adjunct professor, Pete enjoys a competitive game of golf in his spare time, and is married to his amazing wife Wilma, and they spend quality time with their six grandchildren.
Alondra Ortiz is a student at University of Houston- Clear Lake and has been with TAPS Academy since the summer of 2019 where she was an Assistant Lead Counselor at the Juvenile Facilities in the Houston area.
Ms. Ortiz loves working with the youth as well as learning from the youth themselves. She believes that TAPS Academy has the right focus in mind to reduce the obstacles youth and law enforcement face in our generation.
Katherine Torres, BS
Katherine Torres graduated from the University of Houston-Clear Lake with a Bachelor’s in Criminal Justice and Criminology and first joined TAPS Academy in January of 2019 as an intern.
A few of her accomplishments during her internship included assisting in TAPS Academy seminars, networking, and SB-30 trainings. Ms. Torres served as the TAPS Assistant Site Leader during our Summer Learning camp at the various different Harris County Youth Detention centers where she counseled incarcerated youth over various different life skills and emotional strengthening. Since then, Ms. Torres has taken on a very important role in Marketing and Communications.
Officer Treva Mott
Houston Police Department, Public Affairs
Prior to moving back to Houston, Officer Treva Mott served in the United States Navy where she received an honorable discharge after her service. Officer Mott holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Mass Communications/Journalism, and a Master’s Degree in Media and Communication with emphasis in Public Relations, both of her degrees are from Norfolk State University (NSU).
May 2008: Officer Treva Mott joined the Houston Police Department (HPD). After successfully completing her training at the academy, Officer Mott did her field training at Fondren Patrol Station, now South Gessner Patrol Station. After successfully completing her field training, she was assigned to Northeast Patrol Station where she worked night shift on patrol. While on patrol her focus was on keeping the youth off the streets and out of jail.
April 2011: Officer Mott experienced a life threatening injury while on duty which caused her to be on light duty. While on light duty, Officer Mott was temporarily assigned to now retired, Assistant Chief Brian Lumpkin’s office to work on a grant pertaining to law enforcement and at-risk youth. Because of her perseverance, she became the driving force for the Houston Police Department and assisting with getting a half million-dollar grant awarded from the Department of Justice (DOJ) to jump start the Teen And Police Service Academy (TAPS) program.
May 2012 to Present: Officer Mott transferred to the Houston Police Department Public Affairs where she has the opportunity to attend many community events around the city of Houston, some of which the Houston Chief of Police, Art Acevedo attends.
One of Officer Mott’s responsibilities is to do presentations for corporations, schools, local businesses, and churches just to name a few. The focus on her presentations are always to close the social distance between law enforcement and the community. Officer Mott also teaches the Civilian Interaction Training Program classes to all classified for the Houston Police Department, other local law enforcement agencies, citizens of various organizations, and students around the city of Houston. The class is mandated by the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement (TCOLE). One of her greatest rewards is being able to educated citizens of all ages and social backgrounds on law enforcement.
Lead Counsel, TC Energy
Police Chief, Houston Police Department (ret.)
Information Technology Service Manager, Stewart Title
Owner/Manager of Laffey and Associates, Criminal Defense Investigator
Harris County Municipal Judge, Houston, Texas (ret.)
The TAPS Timeline
The TAPS Center reach continues to grow through partnerships with numerous law enforcement agencies around the world.
December 14, 2011Teen And Police Service Academy begins through a partnership with the Houston Police Department
2014Galveston Police Department joins TAPS Academy
2014Ponce, PR Police Department joins TAPS Academy
2014Columbus, Ohio Police Department joins TAPS Academy
2014Royal St. Christopher Police Force joins TAPS Academy
2014Tampa Police Department joins TAPS Academy
2014El Paso Sheriff's Office joins TAPS Academy
2015TAPS Academy becomes a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization
2015Chicago Police Department joins TAPS Academy
2015La Marque Police Department joins TAPS Academy
2015New York City Police Department joins TAPS Academy
2016TAPS Center Opens
2016St. Maarten Police Force joins TAPS Academy
2016Richmond Police Department joins TAPS Academy
2017Tuscaloosa Police Department joins TAPS Academy
2018Norristown Police Department joins TAPS Academy
2019Kansas City Police Department joins TAPS Academy
2020Mocksville Police Department joins TAPS Academy
TAPS Awards and Recognitions
TAPS is honored to have been recognized by several organizations through the years.
- Center for Evidence- Based Crime Policy at George Mason University
- Center for Public Safety and Cybersecurity Education at Franklin University
- Houston Young Lawyers Association, Liberty Bell Award
- Texas Young Lawyers Association, Liberty Bell Award
- National Association of Blacks in Criminal Justice- Hastie Award
- Texas State Representative Gene Wu, Texas District 137
- Jefferson Award
- Congresswoman Shelia Jackson Lee, Texas’s 18th Congressional District
- Rutgers University, Livingston College
- Houston Chronicle
- Texas Education Agency
- Texas 84th Legislative Session
- University of Houston- Clear Lake
- Houston Area Galveston Council
- My Brother’s Keeper Program, Houston
- Sheffield University, England
- Houston Mayor, Sylvester Turner
- Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. Literature Review: A Product of the Model Programs Guide 2018. p. 16-17
- City Council, Houston, Texas
- State of Texas, Governor’s Office of Criminal Justice
- U.S. Department of Justice COPS Office initial grant with the Houston Police Department
- U.S. Department of Justice COPS Office Lessons to Advancing Community Policing 2018p. 31-35
Thanks to the generosity of organizations who work to fund TAPS academy through grants, we have been able to work towards reducing the social distance between youth and police in our communities. We are thrilled to have the support and are anxious to make change.