The UNT Dallas Urban SERCH Institute will graduate its first Community Leadership Academy (CLA) cohort Tuesday, August 8, 2017 with a formal graduation ceremony from 6-8 p.m. at Friendship West Baptist Church.

Funded by the United Way of Metropolitan Dallas, CLA is the first comprehensive leadership training program to place citizens and officers as peers within a cohort (unlike many community policing efforts which are often led by law enforcement agencies).

CLA’s philosophy, “Humanity is the Core of Leadership,” aims to build leadership competencies within our communities, and trust between our citizens and police officers. It is a program that the City of Dallas, Dallas Police Department, Dallas Independent School District Police, and other civic leaders are watching closely in hopes of expanding the program, and building a stronger community.

“CLA is not the magic pill to stop the corrosive impact of negative police-citizen interactions permanently,” said Dr. Larry Terry, director of the UNT Dallas Urban SERCH Institute. “However, through this humanity-driven leadership experience, we hope to contribute to changing the narrative and behavior of both police and citizens alike, where despair is replaced with hope, fragmentation is replaced with cohesion, confusion is replaced with strategy, and judgment is replaced with empathy and understanding.”

For more information on CLA or the Urban SERCH Institute, visit or email