Minnesota State Law Enforcement Education Reform
With approximately 86 percent of Minnesota’s graduates in law enforcement graduating from one of the Minnesota State colleges or universities, we recognize our important role in advancing meaningful reforms in law enforcement. While education alone is not the entire solution to police reform, it is a piece of the puzzle, and Minnesota State is seeking to make the needed changes in our law enforcement and criminal justice programming to develop and prepare our graduates for the important work ahead.
Minnesota State has prioritized the work of law enforcement education reform through a multi-prong approach including the creation of the Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice Faculty Community of Practice. This group has been meeting since fall 2020 and continues to play an important role in curricula development to ensure our programs address issues of racism and social justice, producing graduates who are culturally competent, and able to equitably respond to all of those whom they are charged to serve and protect.
Minnesota State has developed a professional peace officer education mission, vision, and value statement which was reviewed and approved by the Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice Faculty Community of Practice. The Faculty Leads and the Summer Workgroup of this community of practice guided the development of the mission, vision, and value statement, and submitted it to Chancellor Malhotra for review and adoption in fall 2021.
Minnesota State is committed to providing peace officer education programs designed to eliminate systemic and structural inequities; developed using community and stakeholder input; and focused on equity-minded, evidenced-based, and data-informed practices. Our programs will deliver, monitor, and assess education and training of culturally competent peace officers who are prepared to deliver justice and serve all people and communities with dignity and respect.
Minnesota State recognizes the impact of peace officers and other criminal justice professionals in protecting, serving, and transforming lives. We exist to build a better future for our students, their families, and the communities our graduates serve by eliminating systemic and structural inequities in educational access and outcomes and delivering programming that ensures our graduates are prepared to serve with a steadfast commitment to our core values.
Core Values for Our Programs and Students
- Cultural competency and responsiveness
- Empathy and compassion
- Accountability and integrity
- Humanity and humility
- Social and procedural justice
- Trauma-informed decision-making
- Service to and input from our communities
- Advocacy at local, regional, state, and national levels
- Quality through research and continuous improvement
Dr. James Densley, Metropolitan State University
Dr. Pat Nelson, Minnesota State University Mankato
Dr. Leslie Palmer, Inver Hills Community College
Mr. Scott Stumpf, Alexandria Technical Community College
Law Enforcement & Criminal Justice Faculty Community of Practice Summer Workgroup
Dr. Mary Clifford, Saint Cloud State University
Dr. Susan Hilal, Metropolitan State University
Mr. Nick Kellum, Minneapolis College
Dr. Charles “Chuck” MacLean, Metropolitan State University
As a part of the Minnesota State Law Enforcement Education Reform recommendations, colleges and universities have been working to make a curriculum and culture shift from law enforcement programs to peace officer and public safety programs. This shift is designed to focus on a holistic approach to community service and provide future peace officers the needed knowledge and skills to be successful in the field.
Below are the programs that have completed this shift to peace officer programs.
Inver Hills Community College
Culturally Responsive Professional Peace Officer Associate of Science (A.S.) Program
Hennepin Technical College
Peace Officer and Public Safety Associate of Science (A.S.) Program
Minnesota State Taskforce on Law Enforcement Education Reform
Comprised of members representing a wide, diverse, and inclusive cross section of external and internal key stakeholders - including leaders and professionals in or affiliated with law enforcement, community partners, government representatives, as well as faculty, staff, and students - the Minnesota State Taskforce on Law Enforcement Education Reform will examine and advise on issues, initiatives, programming, and priorities relative to an anti-racist law enforcement education. The taskforce will not only help to set priorities for Minnesota State regarding our law enforcement education, but also has the potential to impact law enforcement across the state.
With a focus on the following approaches, the taskforce will meet several times over the fall 2020 semester and will ultimately submit its recommendations and priorities to the Board of Trustees and Chancellor Devinder Malhotra.
Senior Vice Chancellor
Satasha Green-Stephen has been with Minnesota State since 2018, and is one of the co-conveners of the Taskforce. Collectively, a total of 24 Minnesota State colleges and universities offer 93 programs in law enforcement, criminal justice, and related fields.
Minnesota Office of Higher Education
Dennis Olson Jr. has served as the Commissioner of the Minnesota Office of Higher Education since 2019. Previously, he served as the Executive Director of the Minnesota Indian Affairs Council where he worked to highlight and address issues important to all Tribal Nations and American Indian communities in Minnesota.
Minnesota State Board of Trustees
George Soule has served on the Minnesota State Board of Trustees since 2018 and is a co-convener of the Taskforce. He is a founding partner of the Minneapolis law firm Soule & Stull LLC. George is a member of the White Earth Nation and a judge on its Tribal Court of Appeals.
Student at Metropolitan State University
Malaysia is a graduate student at Metropolitan State University receiving her Masters in Advocacy and Political Leadership and an active community member. She is currently working as a Probation Officer for Hennepin County Adult Probation and an active community member.
Metro Transit Police Department, Somali American Police Association
Salah Ahmed began his law enforcement career in 2010. He is currently a Patrol Sergeant with the Metro Transit Police Department. Salah has led training on topics such as cultural awareness, implicit bias, equity, and Islamophobia. He earned a Master of Arts in Public Safety and Law Enforcement Leadership. Additionally, he is fluent in Arabic and Somali.
The Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community
Minnesota Indian Affairs Council
Joseph Bathel, Taskforce Delegate from The Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community (SMSC). Joseph is currently studying for his law enforcement degree, is a Board Member of the Civilian Review Board, Group Leader of the Natural Resources and Infrastructure Work Group, and will be Liaison to the SMSC Conservation and Enforcement Department.
Burnsville-Eagan-Savage School District 191
Dr. Theresa Battle is Superintendent of Burnsville-Eagan-Savage School District 191, serving more than 8,000 students and their families in a diverse Minneapolis suburb. She has previously served students and families as a classroom teacher, Principal, Curriculum Director and Assistant Superintendent.
Associate Vice President of Equity and Inclusion
Inver Hills Community College; Dakota County Technical College
Michael Birchard is the Vice President of Equity and Inclusion at Inver Hills Community College and Dakota County Technical College. He has taught courses on democratic citizenship, Race in America, American Indian studies, human relations, leadership, and community organizing at North Hennepin Community College, Minneapolis College, St. Cloud State University, and Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota.
Rochester Community and Technical College
Jeffery Boyd, Ed.D., has served Rochester Community and Technical College and Minnesota State since 2018. Following graduation from a community college, Dr. Boyd served nine years as a police officer before transitioning to teaching Criminal Justice. Dr. Boyd has served several community colleges in roles including dean, provost, and president.
Minnesota Department of Education
Dr. Burrage oversees the divisions of Human Resources and Agency Services; Government Relations; and the new Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Center. Dr. Burrage believes in providing all students with equitable access to high-quality programming immersed in academic rigor, supporting the social-emotional development of the whole child, and providing students with multiple pathways to success.
Criminal Justice Coordinator
National Alliance on Mental Illness
Elliot Butay is the Criminal Justice Coordinator for NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) Minnesota, a statewide grassroots organization that champions justice, dignity, and respect for all people affected by mental illnesses through education, support, and advocacy. Elliot coordinates NAMI’s advocacy efforts to decriminalize mental illnesses in Minnesota.
System Director, Academic Programs and Quality Assurance
Dr. Jon Dalager is the System Director for Academic Programs and Quality Assurance at Minnesota State. He practiced law in West Central Minnesota before becoming a professor of political science and an academic dean. He has taught courses on the legal system, civil rights, and constitutional law.
Criminal Justice Coordinator
Central Lakes College
Gae Davis has worked for Central Lakes College over two decades, serving 10 of those years as a Coordinator for the Law Enforcement Program. Davis has a Masters in Criminal Justice from SCSU. She has worked for the Mille Lacs Tribal Police, Motley Police, and the Crow Wing County Sheriff's Office.
Vice Chancellor for Equity and Inclusion
Andriel Dees is the Vice Chancellor for Equity and Inclusion for Minnesota State, and has oversight of the system’s strategy to support diversity, equity and inclusion. Previously, she served in Diversity and Inclusion leadership roles at Capella University, University of Wisconsin River-Falls, and William Mitchell College of Law (now Mitchell Hamline). Andriel holds a Juris Doctorate from William Mitchell College of Law and a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from Hampton University in Hampton, Virginia.
Chair of the School of Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice
Metropolitan State University
Professor James Densley is Chair of the School of Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice at Metropolitan State University. He is the author of four books and over 100 articles on crime and policing; and a co-creator of The Violence Project, an NIJ-funded database of mass shooters that has received global media attention. He earned his PhD in sociology from the University of Oxford.
Legislative and Policy Director in Education
Minnesota Council on Latino Affairs
Samantha N. Diaz has been the Legislative and Policy Director in the area of education at the Minnesota Council on Latino Affairs since 2019. MCLA is a state agency that advises and informs the governor and legislators on matters of importance to Latinos in Minnesota.
Saint Paul Public Schools
Dr. Joe Gothard is Superintendent of Saint Paul Public Schools, serving more than 37,000 PreK-12 students with more than 5,500 full-time staff. Previously, Dr. Gothard served as Superintendent in the Burnsville-Eagan-Savage School District. He has also served as Assistant Superintendent, High School and Middle School Principal in Madison, Wisconsin.
Council on Asian Pacific Minnesotans
Sia Her has been executive director of the Council since 2013. Before joining the Council, Sia served as campaign manager for the successful Saint Paul Public Schools’ “Strong Schools, Strong Communities” levy referendum. She has a master’s degree in public policy from the Hubert H. Humphrey School of Public Affairs and a bachelor’s degree in political science from Macalester College.
Senior Director of Strategic Initiatives – Equity 2030
Teri Lyn Hinds joined Minnesota State as the Senior Director of Strategic Initiatives – Equity 2030 in March 2020. In her previous role as the Director of Policy Research and Advocacy at NASPA – Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education she worked regularly with staff from the International Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators (IACLEA) on issues of campus safety.
Hennepin Technical College
Dr. Merrill Irving Jr. is president of Hennepin Technical College (HTC) which is comprised of 46% students of color and has a 99% job placement rate. The HTC Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice Education Center provides skills training for more licensed peace officers employed in Minnesota than any other Minnesota State institution.
Vice President of Academic Affairs
Minnesota State University Moorhead
Arrick Jackson is Vice President for Academic Affairs at Minnesota State University Moorhead. He provides leadership for academic programs and builds strong partnerships in community and economic development. He holds a B.S. and M.S. in criminal justice and a Ph.D. in political science. He is an experienced fundraiser and community developer.
Community Outreach Coordinator
Council for Minnesotans of African Heritage
Amber Jones is the Outreach Coordinator for the Council for Minnesotans of African Heritage. She has ten years of community engagement & advocacy experience working in various industries including education, economic development, museums, & state government. Amber is a summa cum laude graduate from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities with a B.A. in African American & African Studies.
Associate Dean for Undergraduate Education, College of Liberal Arts
University of Minnesota
Ascan F. Koerner is Professor of Communication Studies and Associate Dean for Undergraduate Education at the College of Liberal Arts of the University of Minnesota, the largest college in the state. He is an expert in family communication and conflict resolution, as well as career readiness of liberal arts students.
Law Enforcement Program Coordinator
Fond du Lac Tribal & Community College
Wade Lamirande is the Law Enforcement Program Coordinator at Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College, one of Minnesota State’s largest Law Enforcement classroom and skills training programs. Lamirande’s professional experience covers 26 years in law enforcement as a chief of police, detective, and patrol officer, plus completion of FBI National Academy Leadership Training.
Minneapolis Police Department, Association of Women Police
Kim Lund has been a Minnesota police officer for 36 years and has served on the Crime Victims Reparations Board, The Minnesota Juvenile Officers Association Board, and the board for the Minnesota Association of Women Police. Kim was appointed to a group that reviewed academic programming in our juvenile corrections facilities during Gov. Ventura's administration.
Student at North Hennepin Community College
Priscilla is currently a student at North Hennepin & Bemidji State getting her bachelor’s in accounting. During the day she serves as President of LeadMN – College students connecting for change and at night she tries to meet all her 11:59pm deadlines. In her free time she podcasts, cooks, bake breads, watches tv and brainstorm ways to dismantle systems of oppression.
Student Relations and Experiential Learning Director, School of Public Affairs
St. Cloud State University
Kristy Modrow has served in higher education for 15 years. She is the School of Public Affairs Student Relations and Experiential Learning Director at St. Cloud State University. She connects criminal justice students with criminal justice and governmental agencies to create mutually meaningful applied learning experiences.
Academic Program Director
Marta Mohr has served Minnesota State in academic programming and transfer since 2008. She holds a M.A. in Counseling and a Ph.D. in Sociology. Marta has Individual, Group, Family, and Addiction Counseling faculty experience. She has worked with tribal, city, county, state and federal probation, law enforcement, and treatment programs.
Vice President for Diversity and Inclusion and Diversity Officer
Minnesota State University, Mankato
Dr. Henry Morris is the Vice President for Diversity & Inclusion and Diversity Officer at Minnesota State University, Mankato. He has served many different senior level administrative positions over 29 years at Minnesota State Mankato. Dr. Morris also serves on the Mankato Criminal Justice Taskforce and has served on many state and local boards.
Student at Minnesota State University, Mankato
Evan Olson is a third-year Law Enforcement major at Minnesota State University, Mankato.
City of Saint Paul
Lyndsey Olson is the Saint Paul City Attorney, appointed by Mayor Melvin Carter in 2018. Her office operates under a vision of inclusion, access to justice, sustainable legal processes and innovative legal solutions. Ms. Olson also is a Lieutenant Colonel in the Minnesota National Guard Judge Advocate General’s Corps and Staff Judge Advocate for 34th Infantry Division.
Director of Career and College Success
Minnesota Department of Education
Paula Palmer, M.A., is currently serving as the Director of the Career and College Success Division at the Minnesota Department of Education. She oversees early college programs, partnerships, and strategic initiatives with PreK-20 including Career and Technical Education, High School to Postsecondary Initiatives, MN Career Information System, Adult Basic Education, Online Learning, and Alternative Programs.
Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs
Inver Hills Community College
Tia Robinson-Cooper has served Inver Hills Community College as the Provost/Vice-President of Academic Affairs since 2018. She currently leads the Law Enforcement Advisory Board to address racial equity across the curriculum through the development of a Culturally Responsive Law Enforcement program. Inver Hills offers degrees and certificates in Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice Studies.
Alexandria School District
Rick Sansted currently serves as Superintendent for Alexandria Public Schools. With over 20 years of education experience across the state, a focus area includes growing partnerships with the community and higher education to help students follow their passion toward a career. Alexandria Technical and Community College hosts a Law Enforcement program.
Minnesota Board of Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST Board)
Peggy Strand serves as an education coordinator for the Minnesota Board of Peace Officer Standards and Training which certifies 30 colleges and universities, including 21 Minnesota State schools, to provide the professional peace officer education that is one of the requirements for peace officer licensure in Minnesota.
Associate Professor, College of Social and Behavioral Sciences
Minnesota State University, Mankato
Dr. Sherrise Truesdale-Moore has served as a professor in the Corrections/Criminal Justice Program at Minnesota State University, Mankato for 16 years. She holds a PhD from Howard University with a concentration in criminology and urban sociology and a Master’s in criminal justice from Coppin State University. She has over 27 years of professional criminal justice experience. She conducts cultural competency training for criminal justice professionals.
St. Cloud State University
Dr. Robbyn Wacker is the 24th President of St. Cloud State University since 2018. She is an experienced administrator and a tenured professor with a reputation for leadership of strategic initiatives, encouraging innovation, and advancing student enrollment, retention. She has served as a leader on numerous boards and committees.
Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office, Minnesota Black Police Officers Association
Dawanna Witt has been in law enforcement/corrections for 21 years. She is currently a Major with the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office, with Black Police Officers Association and an Adjunct Instructor at Inver Hills Community College. Major Witt holds master’s degrees in Management and Public Safety Administration from Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota.
City of Saint Paul, Minnesota Asian Peace Officers Association
Pheng Xiong is a 1st generation immigrant from Thailand, oldest of 5 children, raised in the Frogtown neighborhood in St. Paul. He worked for Police Departments in Coon Rapids and New Hope. He is now an 8-year veteran Police Officer with the City of Saint Paul. Pheng is the elected President of the Minnesota Asian Peace Officer Association.
From the Board of Trustee's initiative to Reimagine Minnesota State came "Equity 2030" - an aspirational goal to eliminate educational equity gaps across all campuses by 2030. At its core, Equity 2030 is an organizing principle for all our work; for our operational structures; and for the inclusive, safe, and anti-racist organizational ethos we strive for. This work includes an ongoing focus and review of all our academic programs through an equity lens; however, the review is particularly critical at this time for our law enforcement, criminal justice, and related academic programs. The Minnesota State Law Enforcement Education Reform is part of a comprehensive approach in our efforts to directly address injustice and racism within our workplace, campus communities, and curricula.