January welcomed a new semester at Lincoln University in Jefferson City, Missouri, and the first students to attend the Lincoln University Law Enforcement Training Academy (LULETA), the first police academy on the campus of a historically black college and university (HBCU).
“As a former sheriff, I was honored to help establish the nation’s first law enforcement training academy at our very own Lincoln University, Missouri,” Governor Mike Parson noted in a Facebook post.
The Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) Commission chose the HBCU to host the 16-credit-hour program specifically to attract people of color to the law enforcement profession. It is staffed by Lincoln University faculty and police officers under the guidance of Lincoln University Police Chief Gary Hill.
“It puts an academy right where we have a large amount of minorities, so it gives them easy access to it,” Hill told KMOV. “I think it’s very important to understand that when we try to figure out why do we have so much tension between the minority communities and law enforcement, is to understand the history of law enforcement and history of the laws that law enforcement used to enforce, and that’s the Jim Crow laws.”
LULETA applicants must apply to the university but need not belong to an academic degree program, per reporting by the News Tribune. That said, approximately 80% of the academy’s inaugural class are also students at Lincoln. In addition to coursework, LULETA students will spend their final semester at the university doing full-time police training. After graduation, candidates must pass a POST certification test before qualifying to work as law enforcement professionals.
Currently, LULETA operates with a one-year probationary license, but if the program meets all auditing requirements, it could be granted a three-year license.