OXFORD, Miss. — Actor Morgan Freeman and a professor of criminal justice at the University of Mississippi donated $1 million to the university to help establish a Center for Evidence-Based Policing and Reform.
The university announced the news in a press release on Tuesday.
Freeman, alongside professor Linda Keena, donated to help create the center, which will be the only one of its kind at a university in Mississippi and one of a few in the nation, the university said.
The center will train law enforcement on using evidence-based practices to be more proactive and how police can better engage the community in crime prevention.
“Look at the past year in our country – that sums it up,” Freeman said in the news release. “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.”
University leaders said in the release that they plan to build relationships and share data with policing agencies. They also plan to use the data to enhance the preparation of criminal justice.
The university said $500,000 of the donation would be directed to start-up costs, and the other $500,000 will be placed in an endowment for long-range sustainability.
The plan will first need to be approved by the state’s Institutions of Higher Learning.