Home News Opinion | He Started the First Police Academy at an H.B.C.U. It Was Complicated.

Opinion | He Started the First Police Academy at an H.B.C.U. It Was Complicated.

by Staff

Derek Arthur and

Anabel Bacon and

Isaac JonesSonia HerreroPat McCusker and

When Chief Gary Hill was a police recruit in Missouri in the 1990s, he was one of two Black students in his academy class. Although he has faced racism in his years on the force since then, he believes that policing can be a public good, and that reimagining approaches to recruiting and training can inspire necessary change within the ranks. So in 2020, Hill started a police academy at Lincoln University, an H.B.C.U. in Jefferson City.

But his efforts come at a particularly fraught time. For one thing, the number of police officers around the country is dropping at a startling rate — especially the number of Black officers. And at the same time, high-profile killings of Black Americans by police have deepened the distrust many minority communities feel toward law enforcement. Hill’s academy is predicated on the idea that individuals can change police culture from within the system. But first he’ll have to get students in the classroom to help him make his case.

(A full transcript of the episode will be available midday on the Times website.)

Thoughts? Email us at f[email protected]. Follow Lulu Garcia-Navarro on Twitter: @lourdesgnavarro

“First Person” was produced this week by Derek Arthur and Olivia Natt. It was edited by Anabel Bacon and Kaari Pitkin. Mixing by Carole Sabouraud. Original music by Isaac Jones, Sonia Herrero, Pat McCusker and Carole Sabouraud. Fact-checking by Mary Marge Locker. The rest of the “First Person” team includes Stephanie Joyce, Rhiannon Corby, Wyatt Orme, Sophia Alvarez Boyd and Jillian Weinberger. Special thanks to Kristina Samulewski, Shannon Busta, Allison Benedikt, Annie-Rose Strasser and Katie Kingsbury.

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