TAPS Center Activities
TEEN POL is an Innovative Course approved by the Texas Education Agency and grants one high school credit to Texas students upon completion.
TEEN POL was developed when youth indicated they wanted to be a TAPS Academy student but finding the time to place the Academy into a busy high school or 8th grade school day proved too difficult. TEEN POL allows students demonstrating at least one of the 13 characteristics of at-risk to take an evidence-based course that teaches skills, builds relationships with police mentors through positive interaction, teamwork, service learning and leadership while also earning one high school credit.
The TEEN POL curriculum (PEIMS Code is N1130025) can be found by clicking here.
The TEEN POL course is created and placed into the course schedule of any middle (eighth grade only) or high school student. Students are usually asked to join the course through recommendations from teachers, counselors and school administrators first. Due to its popular demand, classes fill up quickly and school administrators often move to a waiting list.
Academic Clubs designed to reinforce the lessons learned after a TAPS Center or used to establish the foundation for TAPS on a high school or middle school campus. Clubs are led by students with the support of police officers to teach lessons and support the entire student body.
Day-long activities to enlighten youths and community members about the police and the criminal justice system. These events are often call “TAPS Takeovers” as participants are encouraged to feel empowered to learn more about their community and the criminal justice system.
Summer programming using the TAPS Center curriculum in an active-learning environment that involves teambuilding activities and includes officer mentors and community partners.
Shorter activities similar to the TAPS Conferences in which students and community members learn more about police and the criminal justice system.
Community Safety Education Act of Texas
The TAPS Center provided an example to the Texas Legislature of how important it is to build the relationship between you and police. This was used as a guiding example to enact Senate Bill 30 during the 85th Legislative Session, calling for a course for all peace officers, high school seniors, those applying for their driver’s licenses, or those receiving corrective driver’s instruction. TAPS is a member of the statewide SB 30 committee and Dr. Penn is the narrator for the instruction video that is mandatory for the course.
Read and see more about the Community Safety Education Act from CNN's coverage here.
The TAPS experience is based on research for the academic as well as the practitioner. The TAPS Center has produced articles and scholarly presentations: defining what works. Currently the TAPS Center is completing a book entitled: “Police and YOUth” encompassing findings of the best practices to build youth and police relations. The goal is to submit the TAPS Evaluation findings to the CrimeSolutions.gov so it can be evaluated as an effective program.
The Texas Commission of Law Enforcement is the certifying agency for law enforcement in Texas. The TAPS Center provides training for officers, youth workers and civilians on best practices to reduce the social distance between youth and law enforcement.