Police Chiefs Address D.C.J. Cohort

Jun 10, 2020

Sixteen students in Cal U's Doctor of Criminal Justice program attend a virtual summer residency.

dcj james craig

James Craig, chief of the Detroit Police Department, addressed Cal U students.


Sixteen members of a diverse cohort began their summer residency in Cal U’s Doctor of Criminal Justice program this week with words of encouragement and wisdom from officers with decades of police experience. 

The new students in the online program, which began in 2017, are from six states, Jamaica and Canada. They work in police departments, corrections agencies, probation and parole, and juvenile justice. The cohort includes a deputy chief from the Los Angeles Police Department, a senior corrections officer and an FBI agent working in the serial killer section of the Behavioral Analysis Unit at Quantico, Va. 

“This is our most diverse cohort yet in terms of gender, race, professional background, and nationality,” said Dr. John Cencich, professor, director of the Pennsylvania Center for Investigative and Forensic Sciences and director of Cal U’s criminal justice graduate program. 

“Not only is this the first professional doctorate of criminal justice in Pennsylvania it was the first regionally accredited D.C.J. degree program in the United States.” 

Speakers at the program’s opening sessions included Geraldine M. Jones, Cal U President; Scott Schubert, chief of Pittsburgh Bureau of Police; and keynote speaker James Craig, chief of the Detroit Police Department. 

Craig has been the chief of Detroit for the past seven years and began his 44-year career in Detroit in 1977. He returned to his hometown in 2013 after serving as chief in Los Angeles, Portland, Maine, and Cincinnati. 

Craig touched on the Rodney King incident in 1991, which took place during his 28 years with LAPD. King, an African-American, was severely beaten by four Los Angeles police officers, three of them white, who were found not guilty of using excessive force.   

“In the aftermath of the King incident, there were conservations that we are still having today,” he said. “Many ask the question of how come we haven’t seen the wholesale kind of improvement, and I think one of the failings in law enforcement today is being sucked into a culture that’s very rigid and resistant to change. 

“You always have to be open to change, and I think law enforcement has made tremendous strides in being different. But that certainly does not justify the loss of one African-American life killed at the hands of police, which is one too many, and there’s just been so much of this when you look across the recent time.” 

Implementation of innovative strategy and building strong community partnerships has been Craig’s blueprint everywhere he’s served, including during today’s time of uncertainty and civil unrest. 

“The magic of leadership is building trust and people knowing you care about them,” he said. “Then you can make phenomenal change and restore confidence.” 

Two of the current Cal U D.C.J. students worked with Craig in Los Angeles — Deputy Chief Regina Scott and Capt. Chris Waters. 

Schubert congratulated and praised the students. 

“The projects you will work on and ideas that you come up with are the future,” he said. “We hope you share your wealth of information so your decisions, recommendations and commitment can help make us a better world.” 

About the Doctor of Criminal Justice 

The 42-credit doctoral program in criminal justice focuses on professional development and practical approaches to major criminal justice issues. After passing a comprehensive exam, candidates develop a doctoral research portfolio based on theory and applied research relevant to their careers. 

The summer residency is the only on-campus requirement for the online Doctor of Criminal Justice program. It was held virtually this year as Cal U switched to remote operations for the summer in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.