SOUTH BEND, Ind. – Calls for change in police training have intensified in recent years. The demand for reform, fueled by unrest stemming from officer deaths, such as the murders of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Breonna Taylor in Louisville and Eric Logan here in South Bend. The Criminal Justice and Legal Studies program uses technology to address issues facing the system.
Criminal Justice and Legal Studies program chair Andrew Criswell said the program has many cutting-edge technologies to better support students as they enter the field. The program houses one of the best forensic cameras that exceeds FBI standards, as well as an FBI fingerprint kit for forensics.
The school is also the first in the country to receive virtual reality equipment that helps students deal with difficult situations. People can play different roles in scenarios, such as dealing with mental health issues. And students can participate in a situation not only from the perspective of an officer, but also from the perspective of the aggressor, fostering empathy.
Criswell hopes her students can take these classes wherever they go.
“We try to prepare our students for this next step by showing them not only who they can work with in the region, but what they can work with if they go to a department in a big city. We want to not only meet their expectations, but also exceed their expectations,” Criswell said.