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Department of Criminal Justice and Criminology Dale Willits

Associate Professor and Graduate Program Director
Wilson-Short 112A, WSU Pullman
Curriculum Vitae



Ph.D., Sociology, 2012, University of New Mexico – Albuquerque


Dale Willits, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice and Criminology who joined WSU (at the Pullman campus) in the fall of 2015. Dr. Willits earned his Ph.D. from the University of New Mexico in 2012 and previously held a tenure-track position in the California State University system. His research takes an interdisciplinary focus making use of criminological, sociological, and public health insights to explore issues related to criminal justice and public health outcomes. His current work focuses on policing (race and policing, police-community interactions, and the role of organizational structure in explaining policing outcomes), drug policy (the effects of drug legalization and the persistence of illicit drug markets), and violence (the situational etiology of violence, trends and predictors of gun violence, trends and predictors of homicide).

Courses Taught

Quantitative Methods (undergraduate and graduate), Research Methods (undergraduate and graduate), Advanced Research Methods (graduate)

Research Interests

Drug policy, policing, race, research methods, and violence

Research Projects

Dr. Willits is currently working on projects in the following areas: police-citizen encounters, the effects of marijuana decriminalization on policing and crime, the role of marijuana in traffic safety, the situational efficacy of general strain theory for explaining violence, and the role of work in youth delinquency.

His research is currently funded by the National Institute of Justice and the Washington State Traffic Safety Commission.

Select Publications

  • Koslicki, Wendy M. and Dale Willits. The Iron Fist in the Velvet Glove? Testing the Militarisation/Community Policing Paradox. International Journal of Police Science and Management.
  • Nowacki, Jeffrey and Dale Willits. Forthcoming. “Adoption of Body Cameras by United States Police Agencies: An Organizational Analysis.” Policing & Society.
  • Willits, Dale Violent Propensity, Strain, and Violent Intentions: A Test of Agnew’s Revised Conditioning Hypothesis. Deviant Behavior. DOI: 10.1080/01639625.2017.1411046
  • Willits, Dale and David Makin. 2018. “Show Me What Happened: Studying Use of Force through Analysis of Body-Worn Camera Footage.” Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency 55, 51-57.
  • Roussell, Aaron, Kathryn Henne, Karen S. Glover, and Dale Willits. 2017. “The Impossibility of a “Reverse Racism” Effect: A Rejoinder to James, James, and Vila. Criminology & Public Policy. DOI: 10.1111/1745-9133.12289