New Scholarship Encourages Minorities to Major In Criminal Justice

Leaders at the State Bureau of Narcotics hope to bridge the racial divide in law enforcement in Mississippi. The Director of the Bureau, Don Strange, announced a new scholarship to encourage black students to major in criminal justice.

Officials say diversity in law enforcement is important and many students agree. Teffany Anderson is a junior at Jackson State University and is happy about the new scholarship. "A lot of people go into criminal justice because they want to go to law school but knowing they have a choice and there's a scholarship allowing them to get into something other than law school. I'm sure it will spark a lot of interest in students," Anderson said between classes.

Don Strange said what he wanted to do was set up a scholarship where young black men and women could get a degree in criminal justice and then work in one of the many branches of law enforcement in Mississippi.

The scholarship is still being designed by an advisory board but officials want to offer a full scholarship to four students per year. Those students have to major in criminal justice and attend one of the state's universities that offers a criminal justice degree.

Strange said one of the requirements to receive a scholarship is have to spend some time working in law enforcement in Mississippi after they graduate.

"I think we need representation in law enforcement in Mississippi at the highest level by African Americans and I believe this is the only way to bridge some of the gaps you see here," Strange said. The scholarships should be available by next fall.