FHSU Celebrates $1.25 million Grant For De-Escalation Center

Fort Hays State University was recently awarded a $1.25 million grant from the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Community Oriented Policing Services, and the university celebrated with an announcement just before Thanksgiving.

Numerous law enforcement officers and dignitaries attended Tuesday’s on-campus ceremony in the new Fischli-Wills Center for Student Success. One of those was U.S. Sen. Jerry Moran, whose efforts proved invaluable in FHSU’s effort to secure the grant.

“I am here to, first of all, to tell Fort Hays State University thank you for writing a grant that was so acceptable, so easy for us to assist with,” Moran said. “Thank you for having the idea, the dream, the vision to create a program that, in my view, will not just benefit Kansas, but will bring students from across the country for law enforcement training.”

This Community Policing Development Program grant will support the expansion of programs offered by the Regional De-Escalation Training Center that was established at FHSU in August of 2020. The center at FHSU is one of several in a national network of regional centers under the direction of the National De-escalation Training Center (NDTC).

FHSU’s regional training center will train police on how to de-escalate potentially dangerous situations using a psychological approach. The training provided by Fort Hays State places the university at the forefront of this vital law enforcement training initiative.

“This is a grant that I think will allow people from across the country to find Fort Hays State University and Hays, Kansas, and learn what life is like where we all call home,” said Moran, a former Hays resident, who grew up in nearby Plainville and took classes at FHSU.

Dr. Tamara Lynn,  chair of the Department of Criminal Justice and an associate professor at FHSU, serves as president of the NDTC’s Executive Council – responsible for coordinating all regional training centers. She and Police Chief Ed Howell are co-directors of FHSU’s regional training center and are looking forward to getting started.

“We’ve proposed to train approximately 2,000 officers just in our region in the next year and a half,” Dr. Lynn said. “We appreciate the U.S. Dept. of Justice and the office of community-oriented policing services for giving us the opportunity to make a big impact here in the central U.S.”

Dr. Tisa Mason, FHSU president, said the ceremony was “the perfect way to end our work week as we approach Thanksgiving.”

“There are so many blessings in our community, from law enforcement to everyone sitting in this audience,” Mason said. “Thank you for your service as legislators, as regents, as faculty and staff, for making this community so special.”