2015 LC SUMMER MAGAZINE
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Among criminal justice majors, these incidents have led to personal

reflections about their chosen career path. Students, along with many in

law enforcement, are worried about the negative perception that policing

has received and feel as though the public may not fully appreciate the

challenges that officers face on a daily basis. Many have begun to question

whether continuing in this field is the right decision.

At Lycoming, we not only teach students about the technical

aspects of law enforcement, but engage them in meaningful

discussions about their chosen field of work. We challenge them

to constantly evaluate their perceptions about civil rights, civic

involvement, and systemic discrimination especially with regard

to race and class.

The prominent events noted above — touchstones among others

that have not received as much media attention — clearly demonstrate

that the system needs to change. But to develop lasting solutions,

society needs to better understand why these incidents occur by

studying broad movements including the history and purpose of

law enforcement, the development of urban areas into segregated

communities that are often plagued with violence, and the history

of race relations in the United States that has resulted in an implicit

bias that associates people of color with criminality.

The conversations surrounding these incidents are obviously

sensitive and complex. With the skills and maturity they gain at

Lycoming, our criminal justice majors will be part of the movement

to foster change. They will be able to focus their efforts on creating

and using policies that are evidence-based and that build trust, not

divisiveness, among community members and the police. They know

this challenge will not be easy, but the events of the past year have

shown that a tipping point has been reached and these issues can no

longer be ignored.

With the skills and maturity they

gain at Lycoming, our criminal

justice majors will be part of the

movement to foster change.

Kerry Richmond, Ph.D.,

associate professor and

chair of the Department

of Criminal Justice-

Criminology. Her areas of

expertise include gender

and crime, correctional

programming, and prisoner

re-entry.

21

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