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Law enforcement officials and criminal justice scholars from across the Southeast recently graduated from a University of Tennessee administrative leadership program.

The graduation ceremony for the Southeastern Command and Leadership Academy was held Jan. 14 at Patten Chapel on the UT-Chattanooga campus.

Phil E. Keith, retired chief of police for the Knoxville Police Department, was the keynote speaker. Other speakers included Dr. Herbert Burhenn, UTC arts and sciences dean; Dr. Helen Eigenberg, director of UTC’s school for criminal justice; and Dr. Mary H. Taylor, assistant vice president of UT’s Institute for Public Service.

The academy is a partnership between UT’s Law Enforcement Innovation Center (LEIC), UTC Continuing Education Division, UTC School of Arts and Sciences, and the Tennessee Association of Chiefs of Police.

LEIC Director Mike Hill said the ceremony was important not only for the participants, but for the successful partnerships created between universities, communities, and law enforcement throughout the country.

“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 a process that’s given them new skills and knowledge that should have both immediate and long-term impact on their agencies and their communities.”

The course was taught one week a month for seven months. The students included top law enforcement officials from Alcoa, Chattanooga, Cleveland, Columbia, Dyersburg, Franklin, Germantown, Johnson City, Knoxville, Morristown, and Nashville, Tenn.; Little Rock and Pine Bluff, Ark.; Gulfport and Biloxi, Miss.; and New Miami, Ohio.

The program offered 12 undergraduate credit hours or six graduate level credit hours, Hill said. Training sessions were held on the UTC campus.

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.

“This program focused on preparing law enforcement supervisors for the future of their communities’ quality of life, as well as the future of their profession,” Hill said.

Among the program’s faculty members were nationally recognized criminologists such as Dr. Vic Kappeler, author and founding editor of Police Forum and Police Liability, and Dr. Larry Gaines, professor and chair of the criminal justice department at California State University.

Hill said preparations have been made for a fifth SECLA class to begin in July 2005 at UTC, open to all law enforcement agencies in the U.S.