Dr. Patrick Tompkins has been named to a statewide equity panel to examine the community college curricula used to educate law enforcement officers. Tompkins serves as vice president of academic, student, and workforce programs at Your Eastern Shore Community College.
The recommendations of the Panel to Review Law Enforcement Training Programs at Virginia’s Community Colleges will become part of the community college system’s six-year strategic plan.
VCCS Chancellor Glenn Dubois stated that the strategic plan task force will “create measurable strategies for increasing diversity in the recruitment, hiring, and retention” of college employees. Dubois explained, “We know that students do better and achieve more when they can see themselves in their instructors. We must do more to see the communities that we serve reflected in our employee ranks.”
The justice panel is led by Dr. Quentin Johnson, president of Southside Virginia Community College and includes several trailblazers, such as DeWitt Cooper, the only African American law enforcement executive in Southwest Virginia, and Bill Cleveland, former vice mayor of Alexandria and the first African American to serve on Northern Virginia Community College’s police force.
According to Tompkins, ESCC is one of only four Virginia community colleges with a majority of students from racial and ethnic minority populations. “In addition to African Americans, we have large Hispanic and Haitian populations on the Shore,” Tompkins said, “but social justice is really about all of us. What kind of community do we want for the Shore?”
ESCC President Jim Shaeffer said the justice panel aligns with ESCC’s vision. “At ESCC, everyone needs to find, define, and hold themselves accountable to their individual YES! philosophy, including me,” Shaeffer stated. “My YES! is inclusivity. No matter who you are or where you come from, Your Eastern Shore Community College serves you.”
Shaeffer noted the timeliness of the equity panel. “Given what is going on with the racial and social justice movements in our country, now is the time, as Dr. King said, ‘to make real the promises of democracy.’”
Tompkins stated that the college is developing new public safety programs. “As we design these programs in criminal justice and emergency services, we must carefully examine the curriculum and how we recruit faculty and students. We must elevate the college’s commitment to provide access and to deliver excellence to all residents of the Shore,” Tompkins said.