ORANGE BEACH, Ala. — Columbia Southern University (CSU) recently recognized active-duty Air Force Master Sgt. Tahnika Moore-Bessant as its 2020 Outstanding Law Enforcement Professional. Moore-Bessant, who grew up in the south side of Chicago, works as a military police supervisor at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base in North Carolina.
The decorated officer leads a 72-person team, directs physical security actions for Department of Defense assets and protects 12,500 base personnel. Moore-Bessant, who graduated in 2019 with a master’s in criminal justice from CSU, loves her job because of the flexibility to traverse between jobs in the U.S. and overseas with ease. She also appreciates the opportunity to create positive change.
“Being a police officer has given me the opportunity to show people that we truly do care about the well-being of others and it has enabled me to help change certain stigmas over time,” said Moore-Bessant.
Moore-Bessant finds time to work with youth wherever she is stationed. She has worked with underprivileged children in Afghanistan as well as volunteered as a mentor with children overseas and in the U.S.
“The children of today are the future and it’s important to guide them in the right direction,” she added.
Navy veteran and Port Richey, Florida, Police Chief Cyrus Robinson was this year’s Outstanding Law Enforcement Professional runner-up. Robinson, a CSU alumnus who is also seeking his master's in criminal justice at the university, is the first Black police chief for Port Richey. He plans to instill his philosophy of respect while also being cautious and establishing more training and equipment for his officers.
Both Robinson and Moore-Bessant are proponents of community involvement and have been awarded numerous community recognitions.
The Outstanding Law Enforcement Professional Award was established as part of National Crime Prevention Month and to recognize CSU's criminal justice students and graduates for their commitment to safety, professionalism and their accomplishments in the field.