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University Launching Program in Evidence-Based Policing and Reform

By Edwin B. Smith

University of Communications

In an effort to improve law enforcement and the relationships between police and the communities they serve, the University of Mississippi is launching a new graduate certificate program in evidence-based policing and reform.

Wes Jennings

Beginning next spring, the Center for Evidence-Based Policing and Reform will offer a cutting-edge curriculum and training program designed for working law enforcement professionals.

The new graduate program is led by Wes Jennings, often recognized as one of the world’s leading criminologists, and housed in the university’s Department of Criminal Justice and Legal Studies.

The program will award a graduate certificate to students who complete it. The practice-based training is the first of its kind in the nation focused on evidence-based policing, Jennings said.

“As a Carnegie-designated R1 university with a ‘global brand,’ this university and the education and training provided from the CEBPR will be far-reaching and accessible to audiences in the state, the nation and around the world,” he said.

The center’s curriculum is particularly designed for individuals who are employed or want to work in criminal justice, mostly notably in law enforcement, and law enforcement-related fields.

“It is focused on nurturing shared values and means of communication to improve relationships between law enforcement, related agencies and the general public for the business of maintaining law and order while respecting human dignity,” said Peter Grandjean, dean of the UM School of Applied Sciences.

“The graduate certificate is one major step toward ‘flipping the script’ on our state and region’s history of racial issues, race relations and disparate treatment of minorities in the criminal justice system by learning, leading and serving.”

Ole Miss is the perfect institution to house this program, and the center is rightfully situated to take the lead in educating the current and future generations of police and criminal justice professionals in evidence-based policing and reform, Jennings said.

The curriculum includes four courses delivered online, where participants will engage in interactive assignments, discussions and prerecorded lecture videos. Instructors will schedule virtual office hours at times convenient for working participants.

The coursework can be completed within the two eight-week semesters.

Jennings said the certificate program will enable students to:

  • Demonstrate knowledge of evidence-based policing and reform as a scientific and social method
  • Contrast the various theoretical perspectives that inform evidence-based policing and reform
  • Evaluate the effectiveness of innovative approaches, practices and strategies in policing
  • Identify recent efforts and strategies for police to effectively engage with communities they serve
  • Understand what works and what doesn’t, and how the use of technological advancements in policing accompanies and/or influences policy.

For more information on the certificate program or to register, click here.

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