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KNOXVILLE — College professors and criminologists from across the region have completed a University of Tennessee program in law enforcement management training.

The graduation ceremony for the second annual Southeastern Command & Leadership Academy was held recently on the University of Tennessee Chattanooga campus.

Mike Hill of UT’s Law Enforcement Innovation Center said the ceremony was a momentous

occasion for not only the participants, but for the successful partnership created between universities, communities, and law enforcement in the Southeast.

“This academy brought together command staff officers from law enforcement agencies in several states and some of the region’s top criminal justice scholars in preparing the officers for increased responsibilities in senior administrative positions,” Hill said. “The participants have been through an eight-month process that has provided them with new skills and knowledge that should have both immediate and long-term impact on their agencies and communities.

“This program focuses on preparing students for the future of their community-s quality of life, as well as the future of their profession.”

Hill said the course was divided into seven one-week sessions, which were held over eight months. The students include top law enforcement officials from Chattanooga, Cleveland, Tenn., Dyersburg, Knoxville, Huntsville, Ala., Little Rock, Ark., and Gulfport, Miss.

Areas of study included leadership and management, emerging trends in law enforcement, ethics and integrity, risk management and liability, planning and budgeting, managing diversity and media relations. Hill said the program’s faculty members were among the most renowned criminologists in the nation.

The academy is a partnership between UT’s Law Enforcement Innovation Center, UTC and the Tennessee Association of Chiefs of Police.

Hill said preparations have been made for a third class of SECLA to begin in July 2003 and the program has received federal funding to reduce the tuition from $5,000 to $2,950. The third class will again be held at Chattanooga-s Marriott Courtyard and will be open to all law enforcement agencies in the US. Hill said they have already received registration inquiries from law enforcement agencies in Tennessee, Alabama, Arkansas, Mississippi and Virginia.