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New "Hometown Recruiting Program" creates pipeline for aspiring police officers from diploma to degree

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Media Contact: Bridget Lewis

News Topics: admissions, alumni, liberal arts

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High school students considering a law enforcement career can earn credit toward a criminal justice degree and participate in early police training through a new program backed by the Arlington Police Department, the Arlington Independent School District and UT Arlington.

UT Arlington President Vistasp Karbhari, AISD Superintendent Marcelo Cavazos, Arlington Police Chief Will Johnson and Arlington Mayor Robert Cluck

UT Arlington President Vistasp Karbhari, AISD Superintendent Marcelo Cavazos, Arlington Police Chief Will Johnson and Arlington Mayor Robert Cluck introduced the "Hometown Recruiting Program" at a press conference Wednesday.

The “Hometown Recruiting Program” is believed to be a first of its kind in terms of collaboration among three of the region’s largest public institutions. It builds upon existing early admissions efforts between The University of Texas at Arlington and the Arlington Independent School District and the strong relationship between the University, the school district and the Arlington, Texas Police Department.

“The Arlington Police Department has had a long-standing commitment to only hire officers who have achieved their college degrees,” Arlington Police Chief Will D. Johnson said. “This program will invest in the youth of Arlington, support our University and help ensure that new generations of degreed officers will be available to serve our community at the highest level.”

Arlington ISD Superintendent Marcelo Cavazos and UT Arlington President Vistasp M. Karbhari said the program gives high school students who decide early on a college degree plan and a career path new opportunities for a head start. Qualifying high school seniors will be able to enroll in a new AISD Police Academy course that serves as a practicum in law and public safety.

“More than ever, high school juniors and seniors have the opportunity to maximize their high school experience, earn early college credit and advance seamlessly toward their undergraduate degrees and the workforce,” Cavazos said. “This initiative will help create a talent pool for the Arlington Police Department and help students build a secure future.”

The program further strengthens UT Arlington’s successful degree program in Criminology and Criminal Justice, Karbhari said. Housed in the College of Liberal Arts, the criminal justice program includes more than 800 undergraduate and master’s students with classes on campus, online and at the UT Arlington Fort Worth Center.

The UT Arlington Criminology and Criminal Justice program administers an Arlington Police Department internship program established in honor of Officer Jillian Smith, a UT Arlington alumnae who was killed in the line of duty in 2010. The program awards qualifying students $1,200 to offset tuition costs and guarantees them a job contingent upon passing required APD tests.

The department typically hires a dozen or more officers each year and has 640 sworn personnel. Two former Arlington Police Chiefs, Theron Bowman and David Kunkle, are UT Arlington alumni. Bowman is now an Arlington Deputy City Manager.

“The network of UT Arlington alumni who have excelled in law enforcement is strong and growing,” Karbhari said. “Hometown Recruiting will assure that more high-achieving students pursue a law enforcement career and gain an entrée to one of the most respected police departments in the country.”

In addition to the AISD Police Academy, the program includes several components:

Arlington school district students must apply to and be admitted into a dual- credit criminal justice program through the district.

Students who successfully complete dual- credit courses in criminal justice, law enforcement, and ethics and the criminal justice system may earn up to nine semester credit hours toward their bachelor’s degree through the program’s “Fast Track” to college.

Hiring incentives: Program graduates are guaranteed an interview with the Arlington Police Department upon completion of their UT Arlington degree, invited to participate in recognition ceremonies and are given preferred consideration, ensuring employment opportunities are available in upcoming police academy classes.


The University of Texas at Arlington is an Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action employer.