Slain officer’s fiancee, friends build scholarship in his name

It’s been almost four years since Tuscaloosa Police Department Investigator Dornell Cousette was shot and killed. Now those closest to him have created a scholarship to carry on his legacy.

“That’s what he was all about was trying to help people, in particular juveniles,” Tuscaloosa Police Department Sgt. Michael Chaisson said.

He worked with Cousette for many years.

Investigator Cousette worked in TPD’s juvenile crime division, where he devoted himself to helping children get on and stay on the right paths.

“His dedication to his job was second to none,” Chaisson said. “Everybody in whatever career they are in experiences some kind of burnout at some point in time. Dornell Cousette never burned out. He was 100%, seven days a week, 24 hours a day. ”

No one knew Cousette better than his fiancee Celita McCaskill.

“His big thing was serving and helping others,” McCaskill said. “I try to do that more and more in my life each day.”

The scholarship will be awarded to students from Tuscaloosa County and Pickens County, where Cousette was from. Applicants must submit an essay about Cousette along with a letter of recommendation from a current or retired law enforcement officer.

McCaskill and fellow scholarship board member Sgt. David Jones have a message to the young men and women who will soon be blessed by the scholarship in Cousette’s name.

“For the recipients that will be applying for the scholarship, just know that  if you could out yourself in his shoes and just think of helping the community and helping make the world be a better place, you’re applying for a scholarship to help you contribute to that,” Jones said. “That will be all I need.”

“This is not just money to help you go to college,” McCaskill said. “It has a purpose behind it. You should also want to serve like him and others like him and help others like him. Even if it is just giving someone a smile. It doesn’t cost you anything.”

The scholarship fund is administered through Lance Hocutt Financial Group. If you’re interested in donating to the fund, you can send contributions to: Lance Hocutt Financial Group, 1300 McFarland Blvd. NE, Suite 125, Tuscaloosa, AL 35406 or via Venmo at @Cousette-fund.

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