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CHATTANOOGA -– Law enforcement officers from Tennessee, Mississippi and Arkansas are among the recent graduates of a University of Tennessee leadership academy.

The Southeastern Command & Leadership Academy (SECLA) was held at UT’s Chattanooga campus. Academy participants graduated on Jan. 19. This was SECLA’s sixth graduating class.

SECLA is a partnership between UT’s Law Enforcement Innovation Center (LEIC), UTC Continuing Education Division, UTC College of Arts and Sciences and the Tennessee Association of Chiefs of Police. LEIC is an agency of UT’s statewide Institute for Public Service (IPS).

College professors and the region’s top criminologists teach police chiefs, sheriffs and command staff various principles of law enforcement leadership at SECLA. Areas of study include leadership and management, emerging trends in law enforcement, ethics and integrity, risk management and liability, planning and budgeting, managing diversity and media relations.

“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,” said Mike Hill, LEIC program manager. “The participants have been through a seven-month process that has provided them with new skills and knowledge that should have both immediate and long-term impact on their agency and community.”

John Lowry, chief of police for the Johnson City Police Department, was the keynote speaker at the SECLA graduation. Other speakers included Charles Nelson, dean of the UTC College of Arts and Sciences, Vic Bumphus, professor at UTC’s School for Criminal Justice, Mary H. Jinks, assistant vice president of IPS; and law enforcement, university and community leaders.

“UT appreciates the willingness of our law enforcement and community leaders to make this solid investment in public safety. This program focuses on preparing law enforcement supervisors for the future of their community’s quality of life, as well as the future of their profession,” Hill said.

SECLA offers 12 undergraduate credit hours or six graduate level credit hours through UTC. The course is divided into seven one-week sessions, which are held over seven months. Two-thirds of this SECLA class enrolled for academic credit.

Hill commended the program’s instructors as being among the most renowned criminologists in the nation. SECLA’s 2006 faculty included Vic Kappeler, author and founding editor of Police Forum and Police Liability, and Larry Gaines, professor and chair of the criminal justice department at California State University.


SECLA 2006 Graduates

• Sgt. Savannah Ayub, Knoxville Police Department
Ayub was chosen by her peers to be class president

• Lt. Daniel C. Seymour, Collegedale Police Department
• Lt. Karl Turner, Johnson City Police Department
Seymour and Turner tied for the highest class grade and received Academic Achievement Awards.

• Lt. James Stephens, Metro Nashville Police Department
Stephens was selected by his peers to receive the LEIC Innovator Award for contributions he made to the class.

• Sgt. Michael Blackwell, Harrison County (Miss.) Sheriff’s Office
• Capt. Rosario Ing, Gulfport (Miss.) Police Department
• Sgt. Leroy Ladner, Harrison County (Miss.) Sheriff’s Office
• Sgt. John Massengill, Harrison County (Miss.) Sheriff’s Office
Blackwell, Ing, Ladner and Massengill received SECLA Leadership Awards “for showing the true leadership you have within you,” according to Hill. They had been enrolled in SECLA in 2005, but couldn’t finish because of Hurricane Katrina. They returned to complete the course in 2006-07.

• Sgt. Jo Ann Bates, Pine Bluff (Ark.) Police Department
• Lt. Bernard E. Burns, Columbia Police Department
• Lt. William G. Campbell, Bradley County Sheriff’s Office
• Sgt. Tammy Chaney, Knoxville Police Department
• Chief Jason Collins, Mason Police Department
• Capt. Floyd L. Covey Jr., Germantown Police Department
• Lt. Sharon Cunningham, Memphis Police Department
• Capt. Mike Duncan, Knox County Sheriff’s Office
• Sgt. Kimberly V. Forsyth, Metro Nashville Police Department
• Sgt. Gordon Gwathney, Knoxville Police Department
• Lt. Bobby Joe Haywood, Columbia Police Department
• Sgt. Shawn Hickey Sr., Chattanooga Police Department
• Lt. Michelle “Mickey” Jones, Columbia Police Department
• Chief Dale McNeely, UT Chattanooga Police Department
• Sgt. Edwin D. McPherson, Chattanooga Police Department
• Sgt. Michael E. Minnick, Chattanooga Police Department
• Lt. Sharon A. Moore, Maryville Police Department
• Lt. Jeff Powers, Dyersburg Police Department
• Sgt. Laddie Brian Rice, Johnson City Police Department
• Lt. Jim Settelmyer, Knoxville Police Department
• Sgt. Terrence Smithson, Franklin Police Department
• Lt. Jamie Whitney, Memphis Police Department
• Lt. Christopher B. Wisecarver, Morristown Police Department


Mike Hill (865) 215-1351,
Queena Jones, (865) 974-1533,