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State funds to boost University’s groundbreaking Law Enforcement Candidate Scholars program

The Law Enforcement Candidates Program has received $850,000 in state funding to boost its work to prepare students for law enforcement careers. LECS Director Shelby Moffatt (far left), Assemblymember Jim Cooper (second from left), LECS student Andrew Lopez (middle), Associate Dean of Health and Human Services Greg Shaw (second from right), and Provost Carlos Nevarez (far right) were among those on hand Sept. 21 as Cooper announced the new funding. (Sacramento State/Andrea Price)

Sacramento State has received $850,000 in state funding to grow and support its groundbreaking Law Enforcement Candidate Scholars (LECS) program, which prepares students for careers as highly skilled peace officers.

The funding will expand Sac State’s partnerships with law enforcement agencies and allow LECS to continue providing professional development and cultural competency training to students aspiring to become peace officers, said Shelby Moffatt, LECS director and Criminal Justice professor. It also will provide technology that will simulate experiences in the field and allow students to practice their skills in various scenarios.

Assemblymember Jim Cooper, whose background includes three decades in law enforcement, announced the funding boost on Wednesday, Sept. 21. Cooper helped secure the funding in the current state budget and is a “champion of Sac State” and the LECS program, said Nathan Dietrich, the University’s associate vice president for Public Affairs and Advocacy.

Moffatt, who spent 18 years as a Sacramento police officer, founded LECS in 2016 to spur more diversity and cultural sensitivity within the region’s law enforcement agencies. It was the first program of its kind in the United States.

Since then, hundreds of Sac State alumni have graduated from LECS, and many work as peace officers in the Sacramento area.

One of the program’s core principles is civic engagement, Moffatt said. Students who graduate from LECS are trained not only in public safety but in techniques for “helping their communities heal,” he said.

The program is open to all Sac State students regardless of major. Its goals include increasing retention and graduation rates for participating students, creating strong partnerships between the University and police agencies, and increasing cultural and gender diversity in law enforcement.

Moffatt’s “ultimate dream,” he said, is to establish an on-campus, state-of-the-art law-enforcement training center serving agencies across the region.

The program embodies key elements of Sac State’s mission, including commitments to diversity and inclusion, public safety, and community engagement, said interim Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs Carlos Nevarez.

“It is an exemplar of everything we are trying to do at Sac State,” he said.

Since joining the state Assembly in 2014, Cooper has chaired committees and authored numerous pieces of legislation. “But I am probably most proud of this,” he said Wednesday, before presenting an oversized check to LECS leaders and students.

“It’s a tough job,” he said of police work. “But it’s a good time to come into law enforcement and be a change agent.”

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About Cynthia Hubert

Cynthia Hubert came to Sacramento State in November 2018 after an award-winning career writing for the Sacramento Bee. Cynthia believes everyone has a good story. She lives in East Sacramento with her two cats, who enjoy bird-watching from their perch next to the living-room window.

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