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

Spring 2023

Major Latonda Harris, Smyrna (GA) Police Department

Course Attended: 149th Administrative Officers Course

Spring 2022

Sergeant Billie Jo Louden, Kenton County (KY) Detention Center

Course Attended: 147th Administrative Officers Course

 2021 Recipients 


Pictured Left:

Captain Crystal Cline, Front Royal (VA) Police Department

Pictured Right:

Lieutenant Samantha Moore, Lexington (KY) Police Department

Course Attended: 146th Administrative Officers Course


Pictured Left:

Sergeant Courtney Yerington, Owensboro (KY) Police Department

Pictured Right:

Lieutenant Ebony McCrea, Baltimore (MD) Police Department

Course Attended: 145th Administrative Officers Course

Fall 2020 Recipient

Captain Kimberly Grinage, Baltimore Police Department

Course Attended: 144th Administrative Officers Course

 Captain Kimberly Grinage is a law enforcement professional with over 20 years of exemplary service with the Baltimore Police Department. She joined the agency in October 2000 and has risen through the ranks while working in various capacities in several divisions in the organization.

Captain Grinage has over 13 years of supervisory oversight and leadership, as a Sergeant she has overseen personnel in the Patrol Division, Administrative Division, and Internal Affairs Section.  At the district level as a first line supervisor to a patrol squad, crime analysis unit and district level command investigations. The leadership learning Sergeant Grinage gained at those assignments led her to the Administrative Division where she was assigned to the Professional Development and Training Academy and responsible for overseeing The New Supervisors School. In the Internal Affairs Section she was responsible for leading police misconduct investigations and the Use of Force Assessment Unit, she was charged with effectively evaluating member’s compliance to policy where use of force is concerned post the implementation of Less Lethal Use of force training.

 In 2017 Sergeant Grinage took on the assignment of Neighborhood Coordination Officer Unit (NCO), where she was responsible for the agencies newest strategy tied to Community Policing in the Eastern District. This assignment required the skill and talent of effective communication and relationship renewal and building. The assignment required collaboration with community, government agencies and the police department. In this role Sergeant Grinage was able to flourish, sharing her knowledge and skills with a team of Officers and Community members that were able to utilize problem oriented policing techniques and strategies to combat decades old problems and deficiencies. In this role Sergeant Grinage made a profound difference and built long lasting, sustained relationships with the community that are present in her life in this current role.

The following year Sergeant Grinage would be elevated to the rank of Lieutenant, where she returned to the Patrol Division as the shift commander. The love of Community, outreach and engagement prevailed in 2020 where she would seize the opportunity as the Lieutenant commanding Community & Youth Services Division to continue to champion community and police partnerships as a means to repair and make stronger bridges between these two main change agents in Baltimore.

Within the same year, she would be tasked with overseeing the implementation of the Aerial Investigation Research [AIR] pilot program. This assignment would ultimately become the steppingstone for the next chapter of her career. In June 2020, she would be appointed to the rank of Captain.

Captain Grinage would be the first member of the Baltimore Police Department to attend the Administrative Officer’s Course at Southern Police Institute [SPI] under the Cynthia Jean and George Nichols, III AOC Scholarship. 

She shares her story:

“I was completely humbled to be the first African-American woman recipient of the Cynthia and George Nichols III, AOC Scholarship. This amazing opportunity was presented to me at a time of uncertainty and challenges for law enforcement across the nation. I would have to contend with the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, the civil unrest in Baltimore, Maryland and Louisville, Kentucky, the abrupt departure from my newly assigned position, and last but not least, the separation from my family to pursue a once in a life time opportunity. I must admit, it was a difficult decision to make, but I knew that the benefits would outweigh the risks.

The lessons learned and insights gained from this experience at SPI has encouraged and inspired me as an African American woman and leader in law enforcement. It beckons me to extend myself beyond my reach and my accomplishments in life and in my career, to create meaningful change and opportunities for other women to excel in this work. As we assess the growing number of women who hold executive level positions within law enforcement, those positions come with a great deal of responsibilities and challenges both internal and external. In order to overcome those challenges, we must be intentional in our leadership and bring to bear knowledge, innovation, empathy, and perseverance.

These are some of the many concepts that were taught at SPI. In today’s climate, there is no better time than now for leaders to foster a succession plan within their organization to carry on the torch of the men and women that have worked tirelessly to build reform. As a thank you to all of those who have poured into me as a leader, I will continue the cycle of giving back, in hopes that other women in law enforcement will be afforded the opportunity to attend SPI. 

Most of all, I extend my gratitude to Mr. and Mrs. Nichols for their overwhelming generosity in affording me this opportunity. Without their assistance and sacrifice I would not have had the pleasure to be in a learning environment with many other law enforcement leaders from across the country to share experiences and ideas of police reform. My sincerest appreciation to Director Cynthia Shain and the SPI professional team for their efforts in building this program for our success. Lastly, I say thank you to Commissioner Michael Harrison and Deputy Commissioner Michael Sullivan for their continued support in my leadership growth. I am excited to return to Baltimore and share all that I have gained from this experience.”

Spring 2020 Recipient

Lt. Emily R. Horton, Kentucky State Police

Course Attended: 143rd Administrative Officers Course

 "I am currently a Lieutenant with the Kentucky State Police Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Division. I began my career as an Inspector at a weigh station. Soon after, I was hired as an Officer and completed the Department of Criminal Justice Training Academy in October of 2008. I worked patrol for several years, was a field training officer, and for a short while, also assisted in filling the role of our division’s public affairs officer. In 2010, I was honored by receiving the Jason Cammack Officer of the Year Award. An award bestowed upon Officers demonstrating outstanding service, dedication, professionalism, and sacrifice to the profession of law enforcement. Once promoted to Sergeant, I was assigned to the Louisville/Elizabethtown area as a new supervisor. I began my assignment as an administrative Sergeant, and then finished up as a squad Sergeant before promoting to Lieutenant. As a Lieutenant, I currently supervise 5 civilian employees as well as an administrative Sergeant and a squad Sergeant with 7 Officers under their command. I am also responsible for 4 weigh stations throughout Kentucky and their day to day operation. I currently have a total of 13 years on with the department. I have served on a variety of boards, assisted with hiring new sworn and civilian employees, and also aided in promotional processes. 

Although I am originally from Florida, I have spent most of my life in Kentucky. I graduated from Owen County High School, and then attended the University of Louisville, where I graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Administration of Justice. As a graduating member of the 143rd Administrative Officer’s Course at the University of Louisville Southern Police Institute, I now have credits toward a Master’s Degree. Participating in this course was a huge inspiration to continue furthering my education. Without the support of the Kentucky State Police and being awarded as the recipient of the Cynthia Jean and George Nichols, III AOC Scholarship, my attendance to this course would not have been possible. The fact that this scholarship fund exists gives me such great hope for the expansion of diversity within law enforcement. Being chosen to receive this scholarship was humbling and encouraging. It reinforced a great pride I have in myself and my profession. Although my “typical” AOC experience was interrupted by a world pandemic, I truly feel that the efforts of SPI staff and instructors sustained the heart of this course. I left AOC with an expanded mindset, new outlooks, and renewed inspiration for contributing to the continued success of my department. I’m disappointed that I am not able to thank Cynthia Jean and George Nichols, III in person, but I want them to know their efforts for increasing women of law enforcement to command positions are working and as a receipt of their scholarship I am truly grateful."

Fall 2019 Recipients

Stacie Molina Dearth

Hillsborough Co. (FL) Sheriff's Office

Course Attended: 142nd Administrative Officers Course

 Stacie Molina Dearth is a Lieutenant with the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office in Tampa, Florida.  Throughout her twenty-year career, she has served in various divisions within the agency.  While in her early years on Patrol, she specialized in Elderly Affairs Abuse and became the squad Community Resource Deputy.  She progressed to Street Crimes, where she conducted low-level narcotics investigations in a plainclothes capacity.  She transferred to School Resource and was assigned to two local middle schools during her tenure in that position, and was temporarily assigned as an Economic Crimes Detective during the summers.  She further assisted Economic Crimes with investigations while she was on light duty during her pregnancy of her now thirteen-year-old daughter, Savana.  She was promoted to Professional Standards as a Policy and Procedures Detective, and conducted Staff Inspections and Internal Affairs Investigations.  She transferred to Criminal Investigations and specialized in Crimes Against Children, where she earned Master Detective designation.  She was a Field Training Detective in Criminal Investigations and a Field Training Corporal and Sergeant in Patrol.  Upon promotion to Lieutenant, she was initially assigned to Child Protective Investigations, and was subsequently transferred to the Training Division, to serve as the Deputy Division Commander, while attending the 142nd AOC.  She faithfully served on the Honor Guard Team for four years, and in her final year earned the distinction of Team Leader, where she had the untimely honor of laying to rest her fallen brother in law enforcement and ultimate hero, John Robert Kotfila, Jr.

Stacie has a Bachelor's Degree in Criminology from the University of South Florida, and a Master's in Criminal Justice with a concentration in Critical Incident Management from Saint Leo University.  She was an adjunct professor in the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of South Florida, teaching both Juvenile Delinquency and Juvenile Victimization.  Stacie served as the class Historian for the 142nd AOC, and was awarded the William F. Walsh Director's Award for Academic excellence in the Graduate Program.

"I am humbled to have been awarded the Cynthia Jean and George Nichols, III Scholarship to attend the 142nd Administrative Officers Course at the University of Louisville's Southern Police Institute.  I knew Mr. and Mrs. Nichols must have been special individuals for establishing a scholarship for the advancement of women in command-level law enforcement, but I never knew how much they would impact my life through their vibrancy and their genuine appreciation of life's opportunities as given by the grace of God and good human beings.  Mr. Nichols addressed our class for a brief afternoon and captivated every single person in the room with his personal testimony, describing not only why he supports the mission of law enforcement officers, but also women in leadership positions within the profession.  All Mr. Nichols asked was that we pay it forward.  He asked we provide opportunities for others to advance in life, in any way we have the power to promote good.  He has motivated me to excel in this profession for the benefit of those my actions may impact without me even knowing, and to actively seek how I may mold the future in a positive manner through exemplary acts of servant leadership.  I hope one day my daughter will be the Cathy Lanier to the CJ and George Nichols of tomorrow, so I vow to do all I can possibly do to enrich the lives of those placed in my path through the platform I have been provided by the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office and my Oath of Honor to protect and serve my community.  I hope you do also."     

Jackie Newman

Lexington (KY) Police Department

Course Attended: 142nd Administrative Officers Course

 Jacqueline Newman is a lieutenant for the Lexington Police Department in Lexington, Kentucky. Lexington Police Department serves a community of 325,000 people and has 650 sworn officers. She was hired in 2003 at the age of 21, and has been with the Department for 16 years. Lt. Newman has worked in several areas within the Department including Planning and Analysis, Street Crimes, Gangs, Special Investigations, and Patrol. She has been a lieutenant for four years and is currently assigned to Patrol on 2nd shift. Lt. Newman is the only female in the rank of lieutenant at Lexington Police Department. She received her Bachelor’s Degree in Police Administration 2003 and her Master’s Degree in Criminal Justice in 2010 both from Eastern Kentucky University. Lt. Newman is certified as an instructor for the Lexington Police Academy. She teaches Homeland Security for the Academy as well as other local agencies. Lt. Newman has received two unit citations, two Commander Commendations, a Professional Esteem Award, and several letters of appreciation during her career.

Lt. Newman attended the 142nd Administrative Officer’s Course at Southern Police Institute and was one of the award recipients of the George and Cynthia Nichols Scholarship.

“The Administrative Officer’s Course was an amazing, yet challenging experience. I learned several new, innovative ways of policing that I have brought back to my agency. I made lifelong friendships at SPI that I will always cherish. Our class developed a bond and worked together to make each other better leaders and more importantly, better people. I want to thank Mr. and Mrs. George Nichols, who saw potential in me allowing me to attend this course. Mr. and Mrs. Nichols are amazing people and I truly enjoyed the time we spent together at the University of Louisville Alumni Fellow Banquet. This course strengthened my leadership skills and made me a better person and gave me the skills to promote within my agency. I appreciate Lexington Police Department for allowing me to attend this course and supporting my career.”

Spring 2019 Recipient

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."