In the 1960s and '70s, police reformers lost two important battles in the struggle to develop an educated and professionalized police force. First, they were forced out of the American Society of Criminology—an organization they had founded—by sociologists. Second, the School of Criminology at Berkeley closed amid large-scale protests from students. In its heyday, the School of Criminology was the most respected program in the world for the study of police by police and for providing officers with a liberal arts education. This essay documents these failures and explains how they gave rise to criminal justice—the academic discipline that has replaced police science at colleges and universities across the United States. California law enforcement—particularly the protégés of Berkeley police chief August Vollmer—are the key actors in this story. They participated in critical conversations about the role of police in a democratic society and envisioned a future for police work that has yet to come to fruition.
California's Police Professors and the Birth of Criminal Justice Education
nidia bañuelos is a Postdoctoral Fellow in the School of Education at the University of California, Davis, where she researches the history of postsecondary vocational education in the United States. She has a PhD in Sociology from the University of Chicago.
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Nidia Bañuelos; California's Police Professors and the Birth of Criminal Justice Education. California History 1 May 2018; 95 (2): 27–51. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/ch.2018.95.2.27
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