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His grandfather’s stories and achievements are what inspired this first-generation West Chester University graduate to pursue a career in criminal justice.

Colonel Ronald M. Sharpe served as the Pennsylvania State Police Commissioner from 1987 to 1991. To honor his legacy, West Chester University established the Colonel Ronald M. Sharpe Scholarship in 2017 to support minority students who pursue a degree in criminal justice. West Chester University’s Department of Criminal Justice has been serving the criminal justice community since 1974. It is one of the first academic criminal justice programs on the east coast. Maya Pryor was the inaugural recipient of the scholarship in 2019, and West Chester University graduate, Amadou Barry, was named the 2021 recipient.

Amadou can remember being a child and listening to his grandfather recollect a history of service to the people of Guinea, Africa. A sense of pride and passion would fill the room with every story told from his grandfather’s days as the Conakry Police Chief and the right-hand man to the president. His grandfather’s stories and achievements are what inspired Amadou to pursue a career in criminal justice.

He believes law enforcement officers are figures in society who can make a difference. His ideal officer is personable and authentic in and out of the uniform and builds relationships with the community by exhibiting integrity, honesty, and hard work in all that they do.

Amadou uses those traits to describe Colonel Ronald M. Sharpe and the impact Colonel Sharpe had on the Pennsylvania State Police. As the first African American Police Commissioner, Colonel Sharpe is credited with making changes to promote racial equality and establishing narcotics detection canine teams. His reputation was one of honesty, integrity, vision, and innovation. He was also an ardent supporter of continuing education.

Amadou Barry '21

Recipient of the Colonel Ronald M. Sharpe Memorial Scholarship

Interview Originally Featured in The Communicator
Published by the Pennsylvania State Police
September 2021, Volume LVIII, Number 9

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“I can relate to the ways in which Colonel Sharpe was able to fight against challenges,” said Amadou. “I have faced many in my life and will continue to fight through them. That’s what inspires me to be the best person I can be in my law enforcement profession, as I hope to help people and change the world for the better.”

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