Fort Worth city council recognizes Tarleton training program participants

Community Peacemakers

Community Peacemakers

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

STEPHENVILLE, Texas — A mediation training program established by Tarleton State University assistant professor Dr. Gary Lacefield in collaboration with the faith-based community has received recognition from the Fort Worth City Council, Mayor Betsy Price and Police Chief Joel Fitzgerald, who presented participants with the city’s “Gold Molly” award yesterday.

The 10-week training program, known as Community Peacemakers, is the first of its kind in the nation and serves to improve communication between African-American communities and Fort Worth law enforcement officers. Ten Fort Worth police officers and 14 leaders from the African-American community comprised the first cohort. Each earned 40-hour basic mediation certificates.

Chief Fitzgerald presented each of the program’s participants with a “Gold Molly” award during the city council’s Sept. 25 meeting, recognizing individual efforts and contributions in building trust between the community and local law enforcement.

Lacefield, director of Tarleton’s Institute for Mediation, Arbitration, Legal Studies and Forensics within the School of Criminology, Criminal Justice and Strategic Studies, created the program in concert with a vision of Fort Worth ministers Kenneth Jones Jr. and Kyev P. Tatum to improve communication and law enforcement. The course followed a 40-hour curriculum to become a court-appointed qualified mediator.

Representing the first cohort were Fort Worth Police Department’s Deputy Chief Michael Shedd and Cmdr. Joseph Sparrow, members of Fitzgerald’s command staff, and six neighborhood and patrol officers. Others participating in the training included Lt. Johnna Bridges and officers Joshua Campbell, Tracy Carter, Tracy Darty, Damon Cole and Billy Gray.

Two Texas Christian University law enforcement officers, Associate Vice Chancellor of Public Safety Adrian Andrews and Eric Abilez, also participated.

“This was a unique opportunity to bring community and law enforcement together in a learning environment,” said Deputy Chief Shedd. “The classroom discussions were lively and facilitated the learning objectives.”

The training is designed to provide skills in mediation and assist community members and law enforcement in navigating challenges solving problems.

Tarleton, founding member of The Texas A&M University System, provides a student-focused, value-driven education marked by academic innovation and a dedication to transform today’s scholars into tomorrow’s leaders. It offers degree programs to more than 13,000 students at Stephenville, Fort Worth, Waco, Midlothian, RELLIS Academic Alliance in Bryan, and online, emphasizing real-world learning experiences that address societal needs while maintaining its core values of tradition, integrity, civility, excellence, leadership and service.


Contact: Dr. Gary Lacefield, Assistant Professor
[email protected]

A founding member of The Texas A&M University System, Tarleton is breaking records — in enrollment, research, scholarship, athletics, philanthropy and engagement — while transforming the lives of more than 15,000 students in Stephenville, Fort Worth, Waco, Midlothian, A&M RELLIS at Bryan and online. True to Tarleton’s values of excellence, integrity, and respect, academic programs emphasize real world learning and address regional, state and national needs.