Actor Morgan Freeman has joined forces with a criminal justice professor at the University of Mississippi to donate $1 million to the school to establish a Center for Evidence-Based Policing and Reform.
The university announced Tuesday (June 8) that the donation from the actor and the professor, Linda Keena, establishes a one-of-its-kind center in the southern state and represents only a few in the nation, according to USA Today.
The university’s Department of Criminal Justice and Legal Studies said the center plans to train law enforcement in Mississippi and around the country. Part of the training will include better community engagement.
“Look at the past year in our country – that sums it up,” Freeman said in a press release. “It’s time we are equipping police officers with training and ensuring ‘law enforcement’ is not defined only as a gun and a stick. Policing should be about that phrase ‘To Serve’ found on most law enforcement vehicles.”
University leaders plan to use data collected and relationships built with other agencies to enhance the preparation of students in criminal justice.
“Linda Keena and Morgan Freeman are helping found and equip an academic center, where our professors and students can not only develop realistic solutions but also offer training to police forces,” Chancellor Glenn Boyce said, according to USA Today. “Our flagship university wants to strengthen the work of police forces in our state and beyond, particularly those in more rural communities that might not have as many resources as departments in large metropolitan areas.”
(Photo: Kevin Winter/Getty Images for WarnerMedia)