OXFORD, Miss. (WJTV) – According to the University of Mississippi, actor Morgan Freeman and criminal justice and legal studies professor Linda Keena have donated $1 million to establish the Center for Evidence-Based Policing and Reform at the University of Mississippi. The center will need to be approved by the state’s Institutions of Higher Learning.
“Look at the past year in our country – that sums it up,” Freeman said. “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.”
“The goal should be to give officers as many tools as possible to do their jobs more effectively,” said Keena. “Our faculty will address critical issues inherently interwoven in the current and historic landscape of policing such as race, class, bias, and lack of compassion. Requiring law enforcement only to be recertified in the use of their guns each year is not sufficient.”
The gift will be allocated into two funding streams: $500,000 directed to start-up costs, and $500,000 placed in an endowment for long-range sustainability. Immediate steps are being taken to pursue center- and donor-prioritized activities throughout the summer.
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