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Clarksville Police Department’s Partnership with the Montgomery County Teen Learning Center


Clarksville Police Department - CPDClarksville, TN – Making a difference isn’t always readily evident or something you can point out and say, “Look what I achieved”. But, that doesn’t mean you don’t keep trying.

The Clarksville Police Department has been in a long term partnership with the Montgomery County Learning Center, commonly referred to as Genesis, for over four years. Officers have interacted with the young adults in many different ways: basketball game challenges, lectures, mentoring, open and honest conversations, and providing guest speakers who have come from many walks of life just to name a few.

Clarksville Police Captain Ty Burdine. (Jim Knoll, CPD)

Clarksville Police Captain Ty Burdine. (Jim Knoll, CPD)

The latest visit for the young adults was to the Police Department’s newest facility at 211 Cunningham Lane. There were patrol officers, detectives, and Capt. Ty Burdine, District Commander on hand to answer the “hard” questions about law enforcement.

Also, a couple of special guests, Dr. David Summerville and Joshua Simmons were on hand to share their life experiences along with the struggles they faced to overcome obstacles in their lives.

Dr. David Summerville shared his story of growing up in a rural/poverty stricken Alabama community where if you didn’t hunt or farm you didn’t eat. He was brutally honest about his inability to read while growing up, how he had to attend special classes 2nd thru 8th grade, graduated high school at a 5th grade level, joined the military and how it took multiple times to pass a written exam to be a driver.

Dr. David Summerville. (Jim Knoll, CPD)

Dr. David Summerville. (Jim Knoll, CPD)

On his journey to improve himself and to earn his degrees, he suffered many setbacks, but was determined to persevere. Dr. Summerville wasn’t sharing his story to be pitied or to pump himself up, but more to share some of the lessons he learned along the way and how you can succeed even under adverse conditions.

Some of the pearls of wisdom he shared were simplistic phrases which were both insightful and practical: “Don’t let your disadvantages take advantage of you”; “How can you pass what you can’t read?”; “Failure does not mean quit”; “Never, ever, blame anyone for your faults, failures, or laziness”; and “Don’t fail yourselves”. Dr. Summerville is a teacher at the Virtual High School housed in the Greenwood Complex.

Joshua Simmons was headed down the wrong path during his youth. He came from a tough past. He visited a prison one day which led to him to enlightenment. He realized that was not where he wanted to end up, his life needed to change, and he had to make the effort to make it happen. Joshua lifted himself up and earned a Bachelor Degree from Middle Tennessee State University (MTSU).

Joshua Simmons. (Jim Knoll, CPD)

Joshua Simmons. (Jim Knoll, CPD)

He made a mantra for himself, “Everything you want is on the other side of fear” and “It is never too late”. He has made it a goal to help people who are on the same pathway as he was during his youth. He is striving to launch a non-profit organization, “Merci Ranch for Boys” by the spring with the intent of teaching life skills to young adults between the ages of 12-17. Joshua Simmons is a property management consultant.

The end result of the Clarksville Police Department partnering with Montgomery County Teen learning is yet to be seen. Their hope is to influence or help create a more positive mindset for at least one person at a time and to provide roles models for the young adults to look up to or emulate.




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