SAN DIEGO, CA. – According to numerous interviews with local law enforcement organizations, a new approach to criminal justice education is needed. In response, the University of San Diego has announced the launch of its online Master of Science in Law Enforcement and Public Safety Leadership program, which will begin in the Fall of 2015.
The program was created with collaboration from the San Diego Police Officers Association, Deputy Sherriff’s Association of San Diego, and a number of experts from other law enforcement and public safety agencies in San Diego County. The degree is designed to fulfill the critical needs missing in traditional criminal justice programs by providing tangible leadership and management skills that address the needs of contemporary law enforcement.
“Police officers today need skills in leadership, management, and communication for advancement. The University of San Diego collaborated with the San Diego Police Officers Association in the creation of the online Master of Science in Law Enforcement and Public Safety Leadership, and the degree focuses on these skills,” said Officer Brian Marvel, President of the San Diego Police Officers Association.
“When meeting with local law enforcement and public safety experts, they shared a consistent message with us,” stated Jason Lemon, Dean of Professional and Continuing Education at the University of San Diego. “The growing number of vacancies from retirements in leadership positions compounded with the public scrutiny that agencies are currently experiencing has changed the educational needs of law enforcement. Rather than just focusing on traditional criminal justice curriculum, this degree responds to the expressed need for leadership development and will provide immediately applicable skills that will produce the next generation of leaders in law enforcement.”
The degree is a 31-unit program that can be completed in 20 months and covers a variety of topics, including leadership, conflict resolution, critical decision making, ethics, and budget and finance. The fully online format accommodates busy schedules and is geared toward law enforcement and public safety professionals focused on fast tracking their careers.
The unique courses in this program are taught by USD faculty and experienced instructor practitioners, who hold Ph.D’s and possess extensive experience in law enforcement. Instructor practitioners include Chief Adolfo Gonzales of the San Diego Bureau of Investigations, Michael Begovich, Deputy Public Defender, and Wendy Patrick, Deputy District Attorney.
“This degree is distinguished from the academic basis of traditional criminal justice programs by its practical application component,” Deputy District Attorney Patrick said. “It is designed to focus on skills and methods of effective communication that modern law enforcement leaders can implement immediately.”