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Public Safety hosts first-ever Women in Law Enforcement Diversity Symposium

(April 9, 2024) - In just her third month at Clayton State University, Public Safety Deputy Chief Tamika Chase is already making an institutional impact.

Deputy Chief Tamika Chase addresses the crowd at the first-ever Women in Law Enforcement Diversity Symposium

Chase recently hosted the first-ever Women in Law Enforcement Diversity Symposium at the Harry S. Downs Center on Clayton State’s main campus on Tuesday, April 2.

The symposium will also be held for a second day on Tuesday, April 9, at the Clayton State Fayette Instructional Site in Peachtree City, Georgia.

“Attendees can expect to be motivated, intrigued, inspired to pursue any career they want whether it’s in law enforcement or not,” Chase said. “We’re here to motivate and empower everybody. Hopefully, attendees will be able to hear everybody’s stories and barriers, how they’ve overcome them, and hopefully apply those same principles to their lives.”

Chase has 14 years of law enforcement experience in her career, having previously served as the assistant commander of Special Operations with the MARTA Police Department.

But she knows that there are far more roles to serve one’s community and was excited to bring a diverse panel of public service members to the university.

“We have an attorney, a battalion chief from the fire department, law enforcement officers,” Chase said. “Diversity is in every aspect of [law enforcement].”

Desiree Arnold and Cynthia Chappell were two of the panel’s 14 speakers to open discussions on April 2, encouraging all in attendance to simply just keep going in the face of challenge and adversity.

Arnold, the executive director of E-911 for the Atlanta Police Department, earned three college degrees all while raising a family, was the first civilian director promoted through the ranks at Atlanta 911 from a dispatcher, and was also the first 911 director to become a member of the executive command staff for the APD.

“I no longer have imposter syndrome, I no longer feel out of place, I no longer feel like I have something I do not deserve,” Arnold said. “I know that this is a position I have earned through hard work, determination, and sacrifice. Together, let us break barriers, shatter glass ceilings, and create a future where female empowerment is the norm.”

Chappell is now retired but served for more than 20 years in local law enforcement with the MARTA Police before founding the Kids in Transit (KIT) summer program.

For those still unsure of where they want to work after earning their degree, she beamed at the podium saying there’s always a place to launch one’s career in law enforcement.

“I’ve enjoyed every moment,” Chappell said. “I would encourage anybody considering a career – I guarantee you if you put that uniform on as I did, you would be proud of what you do. If you like interacting with people, this is one of the best things you can do.”

Chase was thrilled with the outcome of the event’s first day on April 2 and is excited to see even more Lakers and community members enjoy the symposium’s April 9 panel in Peachtree City.

In addition to the guest speakers at the event, the deputy chief was also incredibly grateful for Clayton State University Police Chief John Keener, who she said made all the difference in getting the event off the ground and running.

“Chief Keener has been awesome,” Chase said. “I spoke to him about my vision and he asked, ‘what do you need?’ That right there shows his commitment to women in law enforcement and diversifying law enforcement. We’re here because of his support and we look forward to great things in the future.”

Chase said the community can also expect more similar events in the future, especially the Women in Law Enforcement Diversity Symposium, which she hopes to make an annual event through the Department of Public Safety.

“Everybody should look forward to seeing this again, and on an even greater scale,” Chase said. “Expect something greater every time. We’re up for the challenge.”

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