Crisis Cops Streaming for Willson Lectures

PLAINVIEW - Wayland Baptist University graduate Ernie Stevens will keynote the annual Willson Lectures event, scheduled for March 3-4, on the topic of mental health policing. He will speak at the 11 a.m. chapel service to Wayland students and employees on his experiences in the field.

Due to COVID precautions, the university is not opening the event to the public, but the chapel service will be streamed live online via the Wayland YouTube channel. Those interested in viewing may RSVP to and receive the links to connect to the presentation.

Ernie is a 2018 graduate of Wayland's San Antonio campus who spent more than 28 years as an officer with the San Antonio Police Department. He helped develop the SAPD's first mental health unit several years ago and has since become a tireless advocate for this new model of doing police work. He recently retired from the SAPD and is now a full-time consultant, training other law enforcement agencies on the development and sustainability of mental health units. He is a co-contributing author to "Police Mental Barricade," the No. 1 mental health category book on Amazon.

Ernie has received nationwide exposure for his work as one of the costars of "Ernie and Joe: Crisis Cops," an HBO Emmy-winning documentary, and he also stars in the NBC Documentary "A Different Kind of Force." Ernie has been featured on ABC Nightline with Byron Pitts in addition to many other news affiliates detailing the mental health policing issues.

"Since we first heard of Ernie and Joe and their work in this amazing field, we have been fascinated with their journey and I've wanted our students to hear their stories," said Teresa Young, Director of Alumni Relations and chair of the Willson Lectures committee this year. "Ernie is a strong believer who weaves his faith into his work and will share about that. We are so excited he is going to be visiting the campus and impacting our WBU community in a major way."

The Willson Lectures were established in 1950 by gifts from Floydada residents James M. and Mavis Willson. Successful business persons and active community residents, the Willsons were dedicated Methodist laypersons who were active in their local church. The Willsons intended for the annual lectureship to feature topics related to "Applied Christianity" and "Christian Home and Family Life" and they worked to secure outstanding speakers over the years. The University has continued that pattern.