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Department of Criminal Justice and Criminology

A statement in condemnation of police violence, from the faculty of the Department of Criminal Justice and Criminology at Washington State University

June 1, 2020

 

In light of the most recent in a heartbreakingly long series of events involving police violence on communities of color, especially black women and men, the Washington State University Department of Criminal Justice and Criminology reaffirms our faculty’s commitment to principles of social justice, including that of anti-racism. As we train the next generations of criminal justice professionals, we are keenly aware of the importance of helping them develop the knowledge and skills that will enable them to be the agents of positive change the field so desperately needs. We dedicate ourselves to addressing issues of systemic racial bias through not only our teaching but also our research, with which we aim to guide reform. We, as a faculty, vow to continue the pursuit and promotion of a more just society through education, research, service.

Welcome

The Department of Criminal Justice and Criminology has a long rich history. In 1935, the President of then, Washington State College, Dr. Ernest O. Holland, contacted the nation’s first ever FBI Director, J. Edgar Hoover, for guidance in creating a program for the sole purpose of training law enforcement officers (September 18, 1935 Letter, October 3, 1935 Letter- Part 1, and October 3, 1935 Letter- Part 2). In 1943, under Dr. V.A. Leonard, the Department of Police Science was formed. Since then it has expanded beyond training police officers to touch on every aspect of the criminal justice system.

Combining a passion for scholarship with a keen understanding of practical applications, the Department of Criminal Justice and Criminology offers students the opportunity to learn, explore and develop in a substantive and expanding field. The Department of Criminal Justice and Criminology is located on three campuses of Washington State University, at Pullman, Spokane, and Vancouver.

The department offers both graduate and undergraduate degrees; students may earn a minor, a bachelor of arts, a master’s degree, or a doctoral degree in criminal justice and criminology. We have degree options to suit today’s students, with our B.A. offered both on campus and online. With groundbreaking research, renowned professors, and students who are making a difference, WSU is an exciting place to pursue your education.

 

Undergraduate

Undergraduates benefit from a policy-focused curriculum that prepares them both for careers and future study, learning from leaders in the field.


Graduate

Graduate students work closely with faculty, pursuing a more comprehensive understanding of the field of criminal justice and developing as scholars and researchers.

Meet our faculty

Department faculty have a wide range of research and teaching interests, and the department is nationally and internationally recognized for its scholarship.

News

  • Spokane County undersheriff received suspension for saying ‘ex-wives should be killed’

    A Spokane County undersheriff received a four-week unpaid suspension in January after he joked to a member of the Spokane Valley Precinct staff that “ex-wives should be killed.”

    Policy violations by leadership in law enforcement can often create the precedent that the behavior is acceptable unless swift action is taken by the chief or sheriff, said Richard Bennett, professor of justice at American University who earned his doctoral degree in sociology/criminal justice at Washington State University.

    “Leadership sets the tone,” Bennett said.

    Bennett researches police organization and procedures along with comparative criminology, and comparative criminal justice. “If the leader shows no regard for abusive language or … » More …

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  • Washington state law enforcement officers cite concerns with marijuana legalization

    Increased drugged driving, greater youth access to marijuana and insufficient officer training are a few of the concerns expressed by police officers in the first state to legalize recreational cannabis sales to adults. While the officers did not support recriminalization, they noted several issues with the implementation of Washington state’s 2012 law legalizing cannabis, according to a new study by Washington State University researchers.

    “The purpose of our study was to add a key stakeholder’s voice to the conversation—that of police officers,” said Craig Hemmens, WSU professor of criminal justice and criminology who coauthored the study. “Officers in other states may find their thoughts useful … » More …

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  • Mothering a Book: Recollections of a WSU Author

    In her 2019 edited book Mothering From the Field: The Impact of Motherhood on Site-Based Research, WSU criminal justice associate professor Melanie-Angela Neuilly collected the experiences of academic researchers and mothers conducting their fieldwork while raising children. Neuilly’s own experience of juggling site work and motherhood in Nice, France, in 2014 is also chronicled.

    Neuilly said she came to the book somewhat circuitously: In 2013, she obtained a WSU Seed Grant to conduct ethnographic field observations at a medico-legal institute in Nice. However, Neuilly was obtaining her green card then, and in the midst of a somewhat risky pregnancy. She got a no-cost extension on … » More …

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  • Investigation into body cameras finds nagging challenges for UK police

    An Engineering & Technology investigation finds gaps in research on the benefits of police body-worn cameras, as well as shortcomings in the reporting of complaints against officers wearing them.

    David Makin, an associate professor and director of the Complex Social Interactions Lab at Washington State University, argues police forces may have the ability to purchase body-worn cameras yet few have the infrastructure to analyse the footage. If footage is not analysed, its value is limited: “Failure to integrate the technology into organisational practice will relegate it to a cost expenditure and not a cost benefit.”

    Makin mentions another area of concern in the United States: … » More …

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