Blue Lights College teaches policing with compassion during time of unrest

Wake County News

APEX, N.C. (WNCN) – Discussions aimed toward finding long-term solutions are beginning to take place as protesters demand police reform continue across the country.

Apex Mayor and former Police Captain Jacques Gilbert dedicated much of his 29 year law enforcement career to creating change. In 2017, Gilbert founded Blue Lights College as a place where officers and those interested in law enforcement learn to police with compassion.

“At every call to service, someone is in need of hope in one way or another, and if we can arm police officers with that compassion and really the heart to serve the people, I think we can make real changes,” Gilbert said.

Students learn about conflict resolution, cultural diversity, community policing, and more. By the time they join the force, they’re already an asset.

Richard Campbell went through the program and has been on the force with Apex for six months now.

“When I’m on call and I’m dealing with situations where I have a victim or I have a suspect, regardless, I want to treat everybody with respect, and that’s something I learned at Blue Lights College,” Campbell said.

Officer Jayden Fairclough said his background, combined with the program training, helps during times like this.

“When I take off my uniform, I’m a black man, and unfortunately, people still treat me differently for that. This training should make you want to deal with the situation in a completely different perspective with a completely different outlook on everything,” Fairclough said.

Gilbert hopes specialized training like this will be adapted into more police departments to prevent future death and escalating protests.

Blue Lights College offers both a seven-week and two-year program. For information about coursework and enrollment, visit its site.

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