Security Threat Groups

There are very few topics that can generate both tremendous public appeal and opposition as the discussion of various security threat groups. Politicians, agents of the criminal justice system, and the general public have strong and often polarizing views on the topic of gangs. This course will examine domestic and International drug cartels, religious extremists and gangs both on the streets and in prisons.  Attention will be given to the philosophical, sociological and structural influences that encourage the creation of various threat groups and the tactics agents used to monitor, intervene and control threat group activity.   

Advanced Criminology

The goal of this course is to provide students with an understanding of topical issues in contemporary criminology. The course is designed to provide opportunities for active learning and critical analysis with an eye towards an understanding of the social reality of crime and crime control as well as how the social administration of justice operates. Specific areas to be discussed include: the correlates of crime (race, class, gender, and age); violent crime; economic crime; policing; and the control and regulation of criminals in the courts and corrections. Further, students will learn to apply their knowledge to better understand contemporary criminal justice research, evaluation, and policy analysis.

American Public Policy

This course provides an overview of the study of public policy by exploring three different approaches to policy analysis: the behavioral, economic, and interpretive approaches. It surveys the topics central to the tasks of policy analysis: how problems are defined, how information is collected, how the relative costs and benefits of policy are assessed, how policy solutions are formulated and adopted, how government and the market succeed and fail, how analysis is utilized, and how ethics informs policy analysis. The course also emphasizes the three challenges to those who would analyze public policy: the challenge of partisanship, the challenge of uncertainty, and the challenge of pragmatism.

Police and the Community

This course examines relationships between the police and the various communities they serve.  Particular attention is given to the manner in which crime is addressed and quality of life issues. Community is examined as a geographical space made of multiple and diverse publics sometimes requiring different strategies and attention. A distinction is drawn between public relations and police community partnerships.

Criminal Law and Procedure

This course examines the nature, purpose, function, and substance of criminal law and criminal procedure in the United States. Specific focus is placed on the constitutional limits of the criminal sanction, the principles and scope of criminal responsibility, and elements of an offense. Attention will also be paid to the rights of the accused and the application of protections afforded to individuals under the United States Constitution. 

Diversity and Criminal Justice Social Policy

This course identifies and analyzes minority issues relating to our criminal justice system and the resultant polices and laws that have been established. A comprehensive, critical, and balanced examination of the issues of crime and justice with respect to race and ethnicity will be presented. Procedures and policy in a pluralistic and multicultural society are examined relative to law enforcement, courts, and corrections environments.

Problems in Contemporary Corrections, Probations and Parole

This course introduces students to contemporary issues of American corrections and fundamental theories of punishment and treatment. Emphasis will be placed on polices, practices, issues, and controversies within the correctional system. The incarceration of various criminal populations in jail and prisons, alternatives to incarceration (e.g. probation and parole), and the public policy issues surrounding the expansion of community-based corrections will also be discussed.

Community-Based Research Methods

The goal of nearly all social research is to discover, describe, and render understandable the characteristics, causes, and consequences of social phenomena. Social research can take various forms from more academic concerns with the scientific outcomes of interest to scientists to applied research designed to address practical issues or problems of interest to those who make decisions about them. This course focuses on the role of community-based research (CBR) as a form of systematic, applied qualitative and mixed methods research designed to support community development and policy-making. CBR uses the tools of research to gather data that supports learning among communities and decision-makers with regard to:

  • Assessing local needs and increasing awareness and understanding of an issue or problem that needs to be addressed
  • Identifying plausible interventions designed to address these problems
  • Directly supporting community engagement, community organizing, and decision-making
  • Evaluating implementation and impact of newly adopted interventions and existing interventions
Ethical Leadership and Accountability in the Criminal Justice System

The purpose of this course is to explore the presence of authority, power, force, and discretion in each of the sub-system of the criminal justice system. Administration actions and ethical issues permeate the criminal justice system. We will analyze the importance of ethical leadership, as well as the tension between deontological ethical systems and teleological or “means-end” ethical analysis.  Discussions may include police corruption, prosecutorial misconduct, ethical issues in sentencing, prison corruption, and ethics in the creation and implementation of crime control policy.

Crisis Communication for Public Safety Officials

From natural disasters to active shooter/hostile incidents, crises are dynamic, unexpected events that involve significant threat and ongoing uncertainty. Yet in the midst of limited and conflicting information, public safety leaders are tasked with making crucial decisions and communicating the progression of the event to the public all the while exercising empathy, competence, honesty, commitment, and accountability. Crises are often multidisciplinary, and multijurisdictional, drawing leaders and experts from a variety of backgrounds and governmental roles. As a result, when a crisis strikes, a management team is assembled with several ranking public safety officials’ front and center. Public safety leaders must be prepared to share information that is correct and credible using a variety of media platforms. During this course, students analyze several noteworthy incidents for their communications and management strengths and weaknesses. Students use “lessons learned” derived from after action government and academic reporting to develop a strategy to navigate a crisis while fostering resiliency and cooperation through leadership. Students also utilize concepts such as meta-leadership and CERC (crisis and emergency risk communication) principles in case study analyses. In addition, students explore techniques that cultivating valuable trusted relationships with the media, community leaders, and other critical stakeholders before a crisis strikes.