Welcome to the Virginia Association of Criminal Justice Educators (VACJE) web site!
Hopefully you will find the VACJE web site to be a useful tool to network with others sharing similar interests. We especially encourage you to
consider membership if you are not presently a member. The VACJE web site contains membership details, include a member application which you can download.
The VACJE Web site also
contains information about the Fall annual meeting in Roanoke, VA.
Our "thanks" to Professor John Wilt of Danville Community College for serving as VACJE's Web page and newsletter editor!
Fall 2016 Conference September 29th & 30th, Roanoke, VA
Information for the 2016 conference, conference agenda, and registration form will
be found in the Edition #8, Issue #2, Fall/Winter 2016 VACJE newsletter.
for more information
VACJE 2016 Annual
It has been a long hot summer and actually quite straining psychologically due to the shootings in Baton Rouge and Minneapolis as well as the assassination of five police officers in Dallas during a protest of the aforementioned shootings. It seemed that the violence and chaos would never end. As a result, there has been almost constant attention to the issue of policing and the community and what is the role of law enforcement in our modern society. My Vice President of Academic Affairs recently sent me an article from Inside Higher Education which discussed how criminal justice programs are responding to these issues but the programs were primarily from police academies that were hosted on college campuses. She wanted to know what we were doing along those lines in our criminal justice program. My response to her was that we have been dealing with the issue of race as it pertains to the criminal justice system for years and if a criminal justice program is just now responding to this issue, it is woefully behind the curve.
This brings to mind the question: What should we be teaching (and discussing) in our classrooms about police and race relations and the proper use of force? Are the police always right? Are the civilians who are killed always wrong? If you keep up with this topic on social media, it is usually a one sided debate depending on whether you are pro-police or anti-police (BLACKLIVESMATTER vs. BLUELIVESMATTER). There seems to be a divide that keeps both sides from listening to the other. There are rules for using force, and use of force is sometimes necessary and justifiable to protect both officers and civilians from dangerous individuals. I would argue that students need to know the basis for the legitimate use of force and what the circumstances are for using that force. I would also argue that students need to understand the mind set of minority communities that sometimes feel that the police are sometimes over aggressive in their decisions to use force against them. A recent message from the FBI Director, James Comey indicated that the Uniform Crime Reports plans to begin collecting data about non-fatal shootings between law enforcement and civilians and he encouraged all law enforcement agencies to submit their data about fatal shootings and justifiable homicides data, which is currently collected. The FBI plans to add a special publication that will focus on law enforcement’s use of force in shooting incidents. According to Comey, “We hope this information will become part of a balanced dialogue in communities and the media----a dialogue that will help dispel misperceptions, foster accountability, and promote transparency in how law enforcement personnel relate to the communities they serve.”
I would like to continue this dialogue at our annual meeting on Friday September 30, 2016 at the Hilton Garden Inn in Roanoke. We plan to have a panel discussion of police and community relations with a group from the Roanoke Chapter of the NAACP and the newly elected Mayor, the Honorable Sherman Lea. Mr. Lea attended our meeting last year and at that time he was on the Roanoke City Council. He has also been a Regional Manager with the Virginia Department of Community Corrections (Probation and Parole) and he is currently a member of the Virginia Parole Board. He is actively involved in the improvement of police and community relations in the City of Roanoke.
Also, please submit any papers that you have recently written or research that you are working on for the professional development section of our conference on Friday afternoon directly to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I am looking forward to seeing you all in Roanoke and continuing this important dialogue that is critical to the survival of our communities.
William N. Osborne, Jr., Ph.D.
Professor and Program Coordinator
Criminal Justice Program
Ferrum, VA 24088-9000
Phone: 540.365.4283 Fax: 540.365.4408