MURRAY, KY (KFVS) - This partnership has been called the Cultural Leadership Academy.
The CLA works as a stackable credentials model, where officers who successfully complete the program may move forward to pursue University credit.
The credit hours can then be applied toward either a bachelor's or master's degree.
Paducah's assistant chief of police Brian Krueger recognized the need for such a program following media coverage of the 2014 incidents in Ferguson, Mo. and other related events since that time.
"Training typically reinforces something that a person already knows or is at least somewhat familiar with, while education exposes someone to a topic they have very little or no previous exposure to," continued Krueger. "For law enforcement in Kentucky, the question became: 'What could the content be for an educational platform that focused on improving the understanding of our community and the outcomes of day-to-day, street-level encounters for our officers?'"
The academy began in April 2016 and consists of four modules with two occurring throughout the week in April and two during a week in September.
The intensive training sessions are held Monday through Thursday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. through a combination of lecture, inventories, case studies and rich discussions, among other activities.
As Krueger explained, "The content of this program is specifically designed to broaden the understanding of local communities as a whole through learning about factors that exist within them, like the difficulties faced by racial and ethnic minorities and cultural diversity, while also broadening the participant's understanding of topics related to the individual officer, like emotional and social intelligence and ethics."