February 21st, 2020 – 12:30 PM
Rome City Schools –
In celebration of Black History Month, the Phoenix Performance Learning Center (PLC) hosted Rome City’s Chief of Police, Chief Denise Downer-McKinney, to speak to students about her life, how she became a police officer and eventually, the first African American Chief of Police at the Rome Police Department.
Chief Downer-McKinney visits the PLC every year through the school’s mentor program, but in honor of Black History Month, Jennifer Perkins, Principal at the PLC, and her staff wanted to
highlight her and her incredible story. “Since we are celebrating Black History Month, we thought it would be great to have Rome City’s first African American Chief of Police, Chief Downer-McKinney, in to speak with our students about her amazing story,” smiled Jennifer Perkins, Principal at Phoenix Learning Center.
“Her story is so powerful—where she started and how she cleared those hurdles to get to where she is now,” continued Perkins. “I remember Chief Downer-McKinney when I was in school and she was working as a D.A.R.E. Officer; she has always been a role model to me, and I am so proud to know her.”
After they learned a little bit about her life, students were able to ask questions like what the steps are to become a police officer, what is the Chief’s day-to-day life like, as well other
questions like how to set attainable goals and more. “We are so glad Chief Downer-McKinney was able to make it out, as we simply wanted to highlight her accomplishments and all of the great things she has done for Rome. I am truly so thankful she took the time to come out and speak to our students,” said Perkins. “I love coming to speak with students, I really do,” smiled Chief Downer-McKinney. “I have been coming up to the PLC since 2011, and it just gets better every year.
“I used to work in the school system and my children grew up through Rome City’s school system—I have a special connection with the people here and I enjoy getting to come and share my story with them whenever they call.”