John C. Young Scholar Hannah Terry ’22 reimagines public safety

by Cindy Long

Centre College News

This article is part of a series featuring Centre College’s 2022 John C. Young (JCY) Scholars. Centre’s JCY program, now in its 32nd year, is designed to serve highly motivated seniors, allowing them to engage in independent study, research or artistic work in their major discipline or in an interdisciplinary area of their choosing. View the complete listing of JCY Scholar projects here. 

Hannah Terry

John C. Young Scholar Hannah Terry ’22 (Prospect, Kentucky), an international studies major with an African and African American studies minor, completed her year-long research titled “So You Want to Defund The Police, Now What?,” and presented her work at a symposium on April 23.

According to Terry, since the beginning of the Black Lives Matter Movement, there have been calls for racial justice and ‘defund the police’ but there is a lack of specifics on what this idea could mean for local communities.

“This project investigated Louisville Metro Police Department’s (LMPD) budget, actions, and outside reviews, trying to unfold what defunding the LMPD would look like and what would the consequences would be,” Terry says.

The final product is a website ( with three main goals: making defunding the police a conversation that is accessible and less intimidating; providing resources on how to engage with academic and grassroots level movement resources more deeply; drawing connections between a nationwide movement and the Louisville Metro Police Department and how defunding the police could look in the context of the Louisville community.

“Due to events in 2020, I often found myself in conversations where the topic of defunding the police was brought up, but I never felt equipped to have the conversation and express what I had learned while researching and taking classes on abolition at Centre,” Terry explains. “This left me frustrated and wondering what the point of my college academic experience was if I could not articulate what I had learned in a casual conversation. 

“If these conversations about community movements stay in higher education spaces, then real community change will never occur,” Terry continues. “I wanted to create a resource that could help people feel empowered to have these conversations. They’ll never be easy conversations, but I am hoping this website is used as a resource for making the conversation more accessible.”

Terry used an array of resources for her research. She read a number of books, including “The End of Policing” by Alex Vitale, “Policing The Black Man” by Angela J. Davis and “The Black and The Blue: A Cop Reveals the Crimes, Racism, and Injustice in America’s Law Enforcement” by Matthew Horace. She also attended two virtual webinars on Defund The Police put on by Scholars for Social Justice.

“I also was lucky enough to intern for an organization called Civil Rights Corps and work on their Policing Project, an effort to hold police accountable for misconduct and work with the community to imagine policy public safety solutions beyond policing. Additionally, I found numerous podcasts and articles that were extremely helpful.”