Actor Morgan Freeman and legal studies professor Linda Keena have helped donate $1 million to the University of Mississippi. Their donations are part of a larger effort to launch a legal studies center that focuses on developing evidence-based policing practices. Freeman explained that his donation was inspired by the string of high-profile, violent police encounters involving unarmed Black Americans.
“Look at the past year in our country – that sums it up,” Freeman said.
“It’s time we are equipping police officers with training and ensuring ‘law enforcement’ is not defined only as a gun and a stick. Policing should be about that phrase ‘To Serve’ found on most law enforcement vehicles.”
With this center, Keena believes that communities can start making the necessary steps toward “transformative and sustainable change” regarding policing and safety.
“The goal should be to give officers as many tools as possible to do their jobs more effectively,” Keena said.
“Our faculty will address critical issues inherently interwoven in the current and historic landscape of policing such as race, class, bias and lack of compassion.”
The center will be located inside of the university’s school of applied sciences. From there, the university’s Department of Criminal Justice and Legal Studies will be responsible for maintaining and guiding the progress of the center.