Assistant Chief Brian Lumpkin (Ret.) on Choosing Police Mentors
Ensuring great mentors as a part of this program is not something we take lightly. At TAPS Academy we started with the assumption that our students want adults in their lives that they can depend on week after week. This belief shaped our process of choosing and managing the police mentors for our academy. Our police mentors stay fully involved and committed for the entire 11 weeks. The police mentors go through special workshops and training to become part of the TAPS Academy program.
In fact, I was personally involved with signing off on each mentor on our team. We find these characteristics to be highly beneficial when working with students; but the most important of these characteristics is the dedication and commitment to our teens. This is vital to finding police officers that truly care about the students in this program. We also ensure that the diversity of our mentors represents the diversity in our communities in regards to race, gender, and work experiences.
Our selected mentor officers desire to create a better life for these teens by mentoring and helping the students learn better ways to deal with issues they will inevitably encounter. We are observing that TAPS Academy students value an officer’s respect and dedication more than they value the officer’s skin color, gender or age. The role of our mentors is key to the success of this program.