Recipients of the Cynthia Jean and George Nichols, III AOC Scholarship

2019 Recipients

Barbara Robbins 

University of Illinois Police Department

Course Attended: 141st Administrative Officers Course

 Barbara Robbins is currently a sergeant with the University of Illinois Police Department in Champaign-Urbana Illinois, and she will be promoted to lieutenant on June 2, 2019. She was hired in 1996 under a Community Policing grant and has never looked back. She has been blessed her whole career with different opportunities within the department and the community. The University of Illinois Police Department is a fully sworn department that serves a community of over 49,000 students and 6,000 faculty and staff. In 2002, Sgt. Robbins got her Bachelor of Science degree, and in 2006, her Master's in Education from the University of Illinois. During her career, she has had the opportunity to work on the Federal Bureau of Investigation Joint Terrorism Task Force for several years.

Sgt. Robbins has been an instructor at the police academy since 2004, and over the last five years, she has been an instructor for the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP). She currently is teaching nationally under a grant from the Office of Violence against Women (OVW) helping other college campus police departments build programs that involve victim-centered sexual assault and domestic violence policies and practices.  These programs include campus resources, policies, and proper report writing and review. Sgt. Robbins’ current assignment is working with crime prevention, special events, accreditation, and training at her police department.

Sgt. Robbins attended the Southern Police Institute, 141st Administrative Officers Course with a scholarship provided by Cynthia Jean and George Nichols. According to Sgt. Robbins, "This scholarship and opportunity is what I needed to make it to the next level. It has allowed me to take four classes on leadership, research, budget and law and to learn how they impact law enforcement today. The Nichols, strangers to me when I applied for this scholarship, understand the importance of women in leadership roles. I see it and hear from other women the challenges they face to move up and get promoted. To have the Nichols believe in me and to help me improve my career, I’m speechless. This scholarship gave me the extra advantage and résumé boost that I needed. Many departments are facing budget issues, and without the Nichols’ support, I would not have gotten this opportunity. I will leave this class and return to work with Police Chief Craig Stone (120th AOC) understanding Chief Stone’s leadership style and to help the department move forward in a time of change.”

2018 Recipients

Assistant Chief Penny Bowles

Bowling Green (KY) Police Department

Course Attended: 139th Administrative Officers Course

Penny Bowles is an Assistant Chief (Major) with the Bowling Green Police Department. She was hired in January 1996 and has been “blessed” with opportunities to serve in several divisions within the police department.  She was promoted to her current rank in December 2012, where she is assigned to the Professional Standards Division, which oversees the BGPD training unit.  She has been fortunate to attend many training courses throughout her 22-year career, most notably supervisory and command development courses (including the School of Strategic Leadership) conducted by the Kentucky Department of Criminal Justice Training.  She is a Law Enforcement Physical Fitness trainer at the Cooper Institute in Dallas, and a Driving Instructor at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC).  Most recently she completed SPI’s 139th Administrative Officers Course. Asst. Chief Bowles says, “Attending the AOC at this point in my career has been very invigorating and enlightening.  I am also in a position to implement some of the new ideas I am learning here that I wasn't in a position to ten years ago.” 

Assistant Chief Bowles obtained her master’s degree in Criminal Justice Administration from Eastern Kentucky University in 2007.  She is married to husband Brad, who has also committed his life to serving the citizens of the Commonwealth of Kentucky with the Kentucky State Police and currently with Kentucky Fish & Wildlife.  They have two adult children, Harrison and Laura.  

Assistant Chief Bowles states, “I am extremely honored to be the recipient of the Nichols Scholarship and thus being able to attend the 139th class of the Administrative Officer’s Course at the Southern Police Institute.  Learning Mr. Nichols was born in raised in Bowling Green made this honor even greater for me.  The Nichols’ generosity to assist women executives in law enforcement achieve the training, personal connections and professional skills need to further their development is extraordinary and inspiring.  I am grateful for the opportunity to attend the AOC, for the personal and professional changes in me.  I am looking forward to bringing back to my agency and the community where Mr. Nichols was raised. It was an honor to meet Mr. and Mrs. Nichols and thank them personally.  I know I will pay this forward to continue their legacy for women in law enforcement.” 

Sergeant Jennifer Rudolph Colemire

Covington (KY) Police Department

Course Attended: 139th Administrative Officers Course

Jennifer Rudolph Colemire is a Sergeant with the Covington Police Department assigned to first shift patrol (0600-1630 hours), where she also serves as a Field Training Sergeant. She is a 15-year veteran of the department, where she has been assigned to the patrol bureau and has worked undercover with the Crime Suppression Unit.  She is certified as a Crisis Intervention Training (CIT) Officer and a SWAT team negotiator.  

During her career with Covington Police Department, Sgt. Colemire has earned both a Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice and a Master’s Degree in Strategic Leadership.  She has received agency recognition with the Employee of the Month Award, the Chief’s Award and two Lifesaving medals.  She has also been honored by the Kentucky Women’s Law Enforcement Network (KWLEN) as Member of the Year in 2010 and 2017.  She is a member of the KWLEN, serving as President for four years and currently serving as the organization’s secretary.  She is also a member of the International Association of Women Police (IAWP) and the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP).   Sgt. Colemire is married to Danny, her “best friend” and lives in Foster, Kentucky on forty-four acres in Bracken County.    

Sgt. Colemire is a graduate of the 139th Administrative Officers Course at the Southern Police Institute (Spring 2018) and a Nichols Scholar.  At SPI, she has enjoyed expanding her professional networks and furthering her knowledge of policing, management, and administration as a member of the class.   

Sgt. Colemire related that “receiving the Nichols Scholarship was a great privilege and honor, which allowed me to attend the 139th Administrative Officer’s Course. I have learned a great deal in the classroom and from my fellow classmates. I have made friends throughout the class but especially with the seven other females in the class; we are the elite eight of the 139th. Mr. and Mrs. Nichols are very wonderful people and hearing how this all came together makes me even prouder in obtaining this amazing opportunity. I appreciate the support from my department in furthering my education and requesting me to apply for the scholarship.” 

Lieutenant Michelle Newman

Volusia County (FL) Sheriff's Office

Course Attended: 139th Administrative Officers Course

Lieutenant Michelle Newman was born and raised in the state of Florida. After graduating high school she enlisted in the United States Air Force where she proudly served as a Security Forces specialist from 1993 to 1997. After receiving an honorable discharge, Lt. Newman attended the Basic Law Enforcement Academy at Daytona State College in Daytona Beach, Florida. Upon completion of the academy, she was hired by the Volusia County Sheriff's Office in 1998. She will celebrate her 20th anniversary with the agency in September 2018. During her tenure at the Sheriff's Office, Lt. Newman has worked in a variety of assignments including the courts, communications, criminal investigations, evidence and patrol. She is currently assigned as an Assistant Commander in a patrol district. She is married to her "best friend" and has two wonderful children.

Lt. Newman earned a Bachelors degree in Organizational Management from Warner Southern College in 2005. She is honored to be the first law enforcement officer from my agency to be selected to attend "the very prestigious Admin Officer's Course at the Southern Police Institute." During her time at SPI, she has earned 12 credit hours towards a Master's degree and is enrolled in the University of Louisville online Masters of Science in Criminal Justice program and plans to graduate in May 2019. She is a member of the Florida Deputy Sheriff's Association and the Southern Police Institute Alumni Association.

Lt. Newman says of her SPI experience: "Attending the 139th AOC at SPI has afforded me the opportunity to learn with and learn from law enforcement executives from around the nation who face similar challenges in policing as we face in my hometown. The professors were top notch and provided an atmosphere within the classroom for lively and meaningful discussions. I have attended numerous professional training courses during my career but none as impressive or scholarly as the AOC at SPI.

I was absolutely thrilled when I was notified by Director Cindy Shain about being selected to receive the Nichols Scholarship. Words can't express how grateful and appreciative I am to Mr. and Mrs. Nichols for their very kind and generous gift. Due to budgetary constraints in my agency, I would not have been able to attend this premier leadership course had it not been for the Nichols family scholarship. Their thoughtful and selfless act to help female law enforcement executives achieve their leadership, educational and career goals speaks volumes about the type of people they are. What an absolute blessing it was to meet Mr. and Mrs. Nichols to personally thank them for their generosity and kindness."

2017 Recipients

Lieutenant Susan Coker 

Knoxville (TN) Police Department

Course Attended: 138th Administrative Officers Course

 Lieutenant Susan Coker has proudly served with the Knoxville Police Department for 21 years. She began her career in 1996 and has served in numerous capacities. She has served as a patrol officer, school resource officer, and has worked at the Knoxville Police Department Training Academy where she assisted with the academy's accreditation process, Internship Program, Basic Recruit Class, In-service training, and the department's Citizen's Police Academy. Lt. Coker served as a patrol sergeant from 2010-2014. She was promoted to lieutenant in 2015 and is currently assigned to the Accreditation Unit as the department's Accreditation Manager. Lt. Coker received an Associate of Applied Science from Roane State Community College in Criminal Justice. She also attended Bellevue University where she received a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice Administration. She has been a member of the Crisis Negotiation Team for the Knoxville Police Department since 2003 and a Crisis Intervention Officer since 2011. She currently serves as the department's Crisis Intervention Team Coordinator.

"I am very grateful to the Cynthia Jean and George Nichols, III Administrative Officers Course Scholarship fund. I was extremely excited to hear I had been selected. Being the recipient of this scholarship and a graduate of the 138th AOC will allow me to be more marketable for attaining command level promotions within my department. The AOC has been an amazing experience. Not only has it strengthened my managerial and leadership skills, it has also presented me with the opportunity for new friendships that will last a lifetime."

Sergeant Kimberly Klare

Erlanger (KY) Police Department

Course Attended: 138th Administrative Officers Course

 Sergeant Kimberly Klare has proudly served with the Erlanger Police Department for 16 years. She was the first female officer to be hired by the City of Erlanger in 2001. Since that time, she has served in patrol, investigations, and attained the rank of sergeant in 2016. In addition to serving as third shift patrol sergeant, she currently serves as a hostage negotiator with the swat team, and is the coordinator for the Crisis Intervention Team with the Erlanger Police Department.

Sgt. Klare was raised in Erlanger Kentucky. She attended Lloyd Memorial High School and Northern Kentucky University. She is a graduate of the Academy of Police Supervision, Class 65, at the Department of Criminal Justice Training and a Graduate of the 138th Administrative Officer's Course at the Southern Police Institute. She is happily married to her husband Douglas, and they are proud parents to three beautiful children Jaiden, Drew, and Chloe.

Sgt. Klare states, "I am extremely appreciative to Cynthia Jean and George Nichols, III for the opportunity provided by the Administrative Officer's Course Scholarship Fund. I was very excited to learn of my selection as a scholarship recipient. As a member of the 138th AOC I have not only learned valuable knowledge and leadership skills in my field, but I have also had the opportunity to develop tremendous lifelong friendships. The Administrative Officer's Course through the Southern Police Institute has been an amazing experience. As a graduate of the 138th AOC I will use the leadership skills and knowledge I have gained to further the men and women of the Erlanger Police Department. This opportunity will also help in elevating my career potential. In attending the AOC course, I came together with leaders from across the country to learn, share, and develop the future of our profession. My personal leadership potential has been greatly enhanced. I would like to thank the Erlanger Police Department for their continued support in my career and development."