University to offer support to families of first-responders

New scholarship will help children of fallen public safety professionals

Scholarship-news-conferenceA new scholarship program at the University of Indianapolis will provide tuition-free undergraduate education to the dependents of Indianapolis and Marion County public safety employees who lose their lives in the line of duty. The Indianapolis Public Safety Scholarship Award is intended for the 4,200 employees that collectively staff the Indianapolis Department of Public Safety and the Marion County Sheriff’s Office. Their children, spouses, and domestic partners at the time of death are eligible to receive full tuition toward an initial undergraduate degree. “Our intent is to express our support and provide a sense of comfort and security to the people who regularly risk their lives to maintain our safety,” said UIndy President Robert Manuel, who serves on the board of the Indy Public Safety Foundation. “We also want to remind our students and employees how much we rely on the work of these public servants, whom we consider part of our extended University community.”

The new program is the only one of its kind offered directly by a university to the local public safety community. Eligibility for the scholarship is open to those affected by line-of-duty deaths retroactive to January 1993. “The men and women of the Department of Public Safety are truly humbled by this gesture,” said Public Safety Director Troy Riggs. “Our people do not do what they do for recognition; they do it because they love Indianapolis. But we are all grateful for this show of support and appreciation by UIndy.”

The Department of Public Safety comprises eight divisions: the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department, Indianapolis Fire Department, Division of Homeland Security, Indianapolis Emergency Medical Services, Division of Public Safety Communications, Animal Care & Control Division, Citizen’s Police Complaint Office, and the Mayor’s Office of Re-Entry. “Losing a member of public safety in the line of duty is a tremendous loss to our entire community, but no one feels that loss more than the members of their family,” said Marion County Sheriff John Layton. “This scholarship from the University of Indianapolis provides an opportunity, through education, for healing for the family members of the fallen and will help provide our community with the next generation of community leaders.”

The scholarship is effective beginning with this year’s summer sessions at UIndy. To continue receiving the tuition assistance, students must meet the scholarship criteria, be admissible under the University’s standard guidelines, and maintain academic eligibility and good standing. Eligible applicants may contact Mark Weigand ’78 ’84, UIndy’s executive vice president for campus affairs and enrollment services, at (317) 788-­6165 or weigand@uindy.edu.