New Brenau scholarship will aid police

A new scholarship at Brenau University will provide financial support to students interested in becoming front-line mental health clinicians who respond with law enforcement officers.

The Darby Scholars Program has been established through a financial gift from the Melvin Douglas and Victoria Kay Ivester Foundation Inc.

“This is another extraordinary gift from the Ivester Foundation and we are humbled to once again partner with the Foundation to serve the betterment of our community,” Mike Smith, chair of Brenau’s Board of Trustees, said. 

While the scholarship is new, Brenau’s internship program with local law enforcement agencies is not. Brenau alumna Anjana Freeman, a member of the university’s first graduating class in the master’s in counseling program, helped Gainesville Police Chief Jay Parrish launch the department’s co-responder program after being hired as its first mental health clinician.

In the co-responder model, a clinician is dispatched to work together with officers to help de-escalate situations when mental health issues are at the core of the conflict.