Philadelphia police Capt. Jacqueline Bailey-Davis has endowed a criminal justice program at her alma mater, Lincoln University. — submitted Photo

A veteran Philadelphia police captain who endowed a $50,000 scholarship fund for Lincoln University criminal justice majors is making an important add-on.

“My goal is to provide access and opportunity,” Capt. Jacqueline Bailey-Davis said this week in detailing the major points of the new mentoring program dubbed Light of Lincoln.

The program provides mentoring and a public-private component for 24 criminal justice majors who are paired with professionals from the law enforcement, judicial, prison and security management fields. For example, criminal justice majors interested in working for the FBI would be paired with an agent who would share knowledge.

“Given the scope of issues that exist nationally in this area, Bailey-Davis is perfectly qualified to spearhead this program and her timing could not be better,” said Ralph Simpson, director of the university’s career services. “In four years, this groundbreaking and cutting-edge initiative should position our criminal justice program as one of the best on the East Coast and the top choice for students of color.”

The program is schedule to start in August. To be eligibility, a criminal justice major must live in Philadelphia and maintain a grade point average of 2.5 or higher.

The daughter of a U.S. Marine and homemaker who were advocates for quality education, Bailey-Davis grew up in Mount Airy and graduated from Martin Luther King High School. Her effort came after she saw a need for mentorship.

“The easy part is getting the degree, but the difficulty is in transitioning from college to the career,” said Bailey-Davis, 45, who made her first payment of $25,000 toward the scholarship endowment in December.

“For me, there was always a mentor who was that beacon of light and that’s what I, and others, have to be for these students. Professors and mentors are that guiding light to assist you with guidance and confidence,” she added.

Bailey-Davis declared criminal justice as her major, with a minor in education, for her undergraduate work at the University of Cincinnati. She received a master’s of education degree from Lincoln University in 2000.

Bailey-Davis, who merged her interests in education and criminal justice with her career choices, said she was inspired to teach by her favorite professors and specifically mentioned Judith A.W. Thomas and Wesley Pugh.

She also said she was inspired by civil rights attorney Michael Coard who represented his alma mater, Cheyney University, another local historically Black college and university, in a federal lawsuit alleging discrimination in public education funding.

As part of the tweaking, the Light of Lincoln program also calls for recipients to interview for three job openings, conduct an interview for a prospective job for informational purposes and schedule visits to the university’s career services at least one year before their expected graduation date.

Bailey-Davis, an 18-year veteran of the police force, said she identified the need for additional student support during interviews with criminal justice majors. She wants to see a higher percentage of such majors hired in entry-level criminal justice jobs or admission to graduate schools or professional schools.

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