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Teen & Police Service (TAPS) Academy

The goal of the Teen and Police Service (TAPS) Academy is to reduce the social distance between at-risk youth and law enforcement. This is accomplished through learning, interaction, and discussion between at-risk youth and the law enforcement personnel who serve their communities. Through this program, the two groups gain valuable insight about each other and the issues they face on a daily basis.

During the 11-week curriculum, TAPS covers specific topic areas associated with Children and Youth Safety (COPS-CPD-2011-3) such as violence, physical and sexual abuse, stalking, domestic trafficking, sexual exploitation and bullying. The Academy also covers law enforcement-related subject areas that are important to youth. Subject matter experts guide the youth and police officers through these topics weekly. TAPS Academy is designed to help youth: change behavior, learn responsible decision making, participate in crime prevention projects and reduce the social distance between themselves and law enforcement.

TAPS Academy builds upon the groundwork established by community policing programs such as D.A.R.E., and moves to the next phase of engaging the group least likely to participate: at-risk youth. The curriculum places these teens and law enforcement personnel on equal footing and creates an environment that encourages sharing and problem solving.

Ensuring great, dependable mentors is a key part of TAPS Academy. Police mentors stay fully involved and committed for the entire 11 weeks. They go through special workshops and training to become part of the program. TAPS Academy ensures that the diversity of mentors represents the diversity in communities in regards to race, gender and work experiences. These selected mentor officers desire to create a better life for at-risk teens by helping the students learn better ways to deal with issues they will inevitably encounter.

Dr. Everette Penn, a Professor of Criminology at University of Houston-Clear Lake, has researched the social distance between youth and law enforcement throughout his career. This led to the development of TAPS Academy through a COPS, U.S. Department of Justice grant in the fall of 2011. TAPS Academy’s first program was launched in January 2012 in Houston.

TAPS Academy has been implemented in several cities internationally including: Houston, Texas; Galveston, Texas; La Marque, Texas; El Paso, Texas; Tampa, Florida; Miami, Florida; Columbus, Ohio; Chicago, Illinois, Richmond, Virginia; New York City; Ponce, Puerto Rico; St. Kitts; and the Barbados.

TAPS Academy is certified by the Texas Education Agency (TEA) to grant one academic credit to high school students in Texas.

In December of 2016 the TAPS Center opened in Houston, Texas. Its vision is to be the internationally leader, reducing the social distance between youth and law enforcement through research, training, teaching and programming.


Let's Move for TAPS Academy
November 7, 2020

2nd Annual Let's Move 5K benefitting TAPS Academy

Join us on Saturday November 7, 2020 at 8:00am from your personal location and gather as a community to walk or run in the 2nd annual Let's Move 5K!

Due to the new updates of social gathering, we are excited to come together as a community virtually!

Get ready to virtually run your own race while interacting with other participants through out Zoom platform and Facebook live! 

We are excited to provide each registered participant with a t-shirt, bib, finishers medal, and an awards ceremony! Plan to experience a new level or fun and excitement this year with our new Reason2Race partnership!

What are you waiting for?!

1. Register for the race HERE!

2. Set up your campaign by clicking JOIN TEAM!

3. Share your campaign with friends and family!

There is no fundraising minimum to participate, and we encourage you to shoot for a high goal, at least $1,000. Go for it!

Zoom and Facebook details will be emailed to you the week of the race.

Race Director: Ms. Makyba Lyons  |  Fundraising Director: Ms. Jessica Middleton

Questions: email us at or call/text us at 832-453-6094

Follow us on Twitter, FB & IG: @TAPSAcademy 


Team Name

Total Raised


Jessica Middleton

Jessica Middleton

Raised $0
Goal $3,000
Everette Penn

Everette Penn

Raised $0
Goal $10,000