Educating Criminal Justice Officers

GWU Department of Public Service Prepares Students Through Hands-on Learning Opportunities, Internship Experiences

Educating Criminal Justice Officers

Students in the Gardner-Webb University Department of Public Service prepare for careers to meet the 21st century needs of the criminal justice system. Dr. Bobbie Cox, associate professor of Criminal Justice Administration and chair of the Department of Public Service, says this means offering classes in scientific analysis, Crime Scene Investigation (CSI), homeland security and other domestic and global issues.

“Our graduates need this skill set to distinguish them from other people in a law enforcement applicant pool,” Cox informs. “One of the most exciting aspects of the program are the internships and field experiences. These are hands-on and approved as Professional Readiness Experiences (PRE) required for graduation. But more than that, the opportunities introduce them to a job market, where they may be hired.”

After completing an internship with a local police department, senior Alexis Williams was offered a job. In 2018, the department sent her to basic training, which is required for employment and counted toward her PRE. She has worked while finishing her degree. When she graduates on May 11, she will continue her law enforcement career. “The classes I took at GWU, the guest speakers, and everything I learned provided information I needed going into basic training,” she affirms.

Students also receive hands-on experience in class as they investigate mock crime scenes and document the evidence in preparation for a mock court trial in front of a judge, portrayed by a retired attorney. The defense attorney is played by an adjunct professor, who is retired law enforcement. GWU criminal justice coordinator and instructor, Homer Craig, who is also retired law enforcement, represents the prosecution. The students take the witness stand, testify and present evidence. Additionally, students receive case law, criminal law and procedures instruction from Assistant Professor Dr. Stephen Gambill, a former police attorney.

The Department of Public Service also offers three programs in GOAL – The Degree Completion Program (DCP): Criminal Justice, Human Services and Fire Service Administration. Offered online, these programs are geared to the needs of working students.

Learn more about the Department of Public Service traditional and DCP programs