Memorial Scholarship for Fallen Tuscaloosa Police Officer to Benefit 2 Students Yearly
A scholarship to memorialize a Tuscaloosa Police officer who was killed in the line of duty in 2019 will benefit two west Alabama students each year.
A spokesperson for the scholarship fund's board of directors said each year, the Investigator Dornell Cousette Scholarship will benefit one student from Pickens County, where Cousette was raised, and another in here Tuscaloosa County.
Cousett, an Aliceville native and U.S. Army veteran, spent 13 years with the Tuscaloosa Police Department before he was fatally shot in September 2019.
A suspect, Luther Bernard Watkins, Jr. has been charged with capital murder for the killing and has been jailed without bond since his arrest soon after the shooting.
The scholarship will benefit two high school seniors each year - one studying in the Pickens County school system, and one at either a Tuscaloosa City or Tuscaloosa County School - and the representative said special consideration will be given to those from law enforcement families.
“Investigator Cousette loved working with children,” said Sgt. Michael Chaisson, who worked closely with Cousette for many years in TPD’s Juvenile Division. “Supporting the educational aspirations of deserving students is an excellent way to honor his memory.”
Applicants for the scholarship will submit essays about Investigator Cousette and must also obtain a letter of recommendation from a current or retired law enforcement officer.
Members of the scholarship fund’s board include TPD officers Lt. Henry McCaskill, Sgt. Chaisson, Sgt. David Jones, Sgt. Jody Dean, Inv. Tarrence Webb, Inv. Jonathon Lovejoy and Celita McCaskill, Cousette’s fiancé.
“Our hope is that this fund will still provide scholarships to deserving children long after all of us are gone,” Chaisson said.
He said the fund will be administered through the Lance Hocutt Financial Group, and donors can send it to their office at 1300 McFarland Boulevard Northeast #125, or through Venmo at @Cousette-fund.
Checks can be made out to the Dornell Cousette Scholarship Fund.