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“Building Partnerships Through Policing,” offered in the sociology department as a 2000-level course, is perfect for students exploring the idea of a career as a first responder or in law enforcement.

OSUPD academic class turns stipend into scholarships

Friday, March 8, 2024

Media Contact: Shannon Rigsby | Associate Director of Public Information | 405-744-9081 |

In 2021, the Oklahoma State University Police Department created a three-credit hour course covering the realities of modern law enforcement. This year, OSUPD is taking the stipend paid to those teaching the course — Building Partnerships Through Policing — and turning it into student scholarships. 

OSUPD Capt. Colt Chandler said spring 2024 will be the first time the scholarships will be awarded. 

“We have been absorbing the cost of the course since its inception,” Chandler said. “Two years down the road, we decided we could use the teaching stipend to benefit students. So, we’ve been working to figure out how we can get that stipend put into our foundation account, so we can, in turn, offer scholarships. We finally got it done this past December.” 

Most of the funding for these scholarships is coming from OSUPD officers and their salaries. As the class continues to grow, the police department is hoping to collaborate with others across campus to match funds to reach an endowment stage with the OSU Foundation account. Without a donor, it will take eight more courses until an endowment level is reached. 

“Building Partnerships Through Policing,” offered in the sociology department as a 2000-level course, is perfect for students exploring the idea of a career as a first responder or in law enforcement. 

This class helps students understand what going into the police force looks like, allowing them to see if it’s truly something they want to pursue as a career. Chandler has been working with the sociology department to make this class more accessible to students interested in law enforcement. 

“It offers an intrinsic perspective about law enforcement, then why we feel OSUPD models success and is successful,” Chandler said. “The very first day we open with very difficult conversations and theoretical models that people need to understand are critical to our job.”

Chandler noted some students don’t fully grasp the challenges that may arise from working in the field. 

“It’s basically a very in-depth Citizens Academy for students,” Chandler said. “We’ve hired one of the students as an OSUPD officer, had five phenomenal interns from three classes, and know of at least four students who went on to be hired at other agencies. Even if they don’t go on to law enforcement, they are educated and informed about why we do what we do.”

As part of helping educate future law enforcement employees, Chandler and OSUPD have been working to provide scholarships for students to make the class more accessible financially. 

“OSUPD wants to show commitment to our community by giving back and the scholarship program is a way for us to do that,” said police Chief Leon Jones. “We understand the importance of education and as members of this great community, we strive to educate as well.”

Scholarships are available to Criminology and Criminal Justice majors and minors, and all declared CRCJ students will be considered for scholarships this spring. Scholarship recipients will be selected via a partnership between OSUPD and OSU Sociology. If you’d like to learn more about these scholarships, contact Laken Pruitt at or 405-744-6114.

Story By: Abigail Cage |

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