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UT Law Enforcement Innovation Center Brings New Cultural Competency Training to UTHSC Campus Police

Dereck Stewart, one of the primary instructors for the UT Law Enforcement Innovation Center’s new cultural competency training program, instructs during an earlier training at UT Knoxville.

Officers from the University of Tennessee Health Science Center’s Campus Police Department will take part in training April 21-23 to help increase cultural competency and recognize biased-based policing to better serve the campus and surrounding area.

This new, three-day certification program is offered by the UT Law Enforcement Innovation Center (LEIC), an agency of the UT Institute for Public Service. All UT System law enforcement agencies will receive the training before it is eventually launched nationwide. The Memphis training will be held in the Schreier Auditorium in the UTHSC Student-Alumni Center (SAC), 800 Madison Avenue.

“LEIC has created a national certification program for law enforcement agencies across Tennessee and nationwide,” said Rick Scarbrough, LEIC executive director. “This training will increase diversity in law enforcement and examine perceptions, stereotypes, and cultural assumptions.”

LEIC is offering this training in partnership with the Museum of Tolerance in Los Angeles to meet the critical need of increasing diversity, cross-cultural competency, and minimizing biased-based policing.

For UTHSC Campus Police, this training is part of the department’s continued professional development for officers and staff. The Campus Police Department received accreditation last year through the Tennessee Law Enforcement Accreditation (TLEA) program. Led by Chief Anthony Berryhill, the department is also accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies, Inc. (CALEA), and the International Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators.

The department ranked 12th for campus safety in a poll from the National Campus Safety Summit. UTHSC ranked in the Top 10 among 490 colleges in the 2019 Safest Campuses in America list, according to the National Council for Home Safety and Security.

“I am very excited for my team of officers to be afforded another opportunity for exposure to significant and timely training to meet the needs of those we serve daily,” Chief Berryhill said. “The year 2020 was challenging to us all. It revealed to us the reality of relations with the public and law enforcement. This reality is that we all need to have a better understanding of the many differences within our various cultures, as well as the many similarities. My expectation of this training is to see barriers broken as a result of the open and honest dialogue from officers coming from different backgrounds and experiences.”