It’s not often that a young person finds something they are so interested in that they want to make a career out of it. However, UT police officer and recent UT graduate, Alexa Stephenson, is an exception.
Officer Alexa Stephenson was recently named class president of her Blount County Law Enforcement Training Academy class and is the first female in the academy to receive this title.
According to Emily Simerly, UT’s Deputy Chief of Police, Stephenson’s talents were recognized by her classmates.
“Having primarily male peers recognize her abilities as a natural leader says a lot about Alexa,” Simerly said.
Stephenson was born in Oak Ridge and grew up in Knoxville. She graduated from UT in May 2019 after double-majoring in sociology and english. Though criminal justice didn’t necessarily make it into the bulk of her school curriculum, Stephenson knew she wanted to pursue law enforcement toward the end of her high school career.
“I have always been passionate about public safety and affecting positive change in my community,” Stephenson said.
Additionally, from a very early age, Stephenson experienced positive interactions with law enforcement, which influenced her decision to pursue this path and have molded her into the person she is now.
Simerly hired Stephenson in May 2019. Stephenson was only two months into her position before she began training at the academy in Blount County.
During her twelve weeks at the training academy, she became Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) certified. She also went through trainings on various subjects, such as investigation, interviewing, legal procedure and community policing.
As aforementioned, Stephenson was elected by her class as president. This role established the young officer as the mediating point of contact between academy instructors and her peers, the person to resolve any conflicts between peers and the one responsible for tracking the academic status of her peers.
Stephenson expressed her gratitude for the position.
“I am proud to have been the first female to be voted in as class president at BCSO Training Academy. It was an honor that my class, Class 020, voted me in to represent them, seeing as they knew that our entire class would be held responsible if I made any mistakes,” Stephenson said.
This honor ignited confidence in Stephenson. The class believed deeply in her and believed she would steer them right.
Her police training as well as her general life experience have impacted the views Stephenson has on her career in law enforcement.
She expressed her desire to serve the needs of her city and said, “[I look] forward to ensuring that people who are enjoying their daily lives are safe to do so.”
Chief of UT Police and Associate Vice Chancellor of Public Safety Troy Lane spoke highly of Stephenson.
“The sky is the limit for Alexa,” Lane said. '“With the right training, time and effort, she’ll move up quickly.”