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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.   

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.

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Minnesota State Taskforce on Law Enforcement Reform

Malaysia Abdi

 
Malaysia Abdi
Student at Metropolitan State University
Students United

Malaysia is a graduate student at Metropolitan State University receiving her Masters in Advocacy and Political Leadership. She is currently working as a Probation Officer for Hennepin County Adult Probation and an active community member.

 

Salah Ahmed, Patrol Sergeant, Metro Transit Police Department, Somali American Police Association


Salah Ahmed
Patrol Sergeant
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. 
 

Joe Bathel The Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community Minnesota Indian Affairs Council


Joe Bathel
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.  

 

Theresa Battle, Superintendent, Burnsville-Eagan-Savage School District 191


Theresa Battle
Superintendent
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. 


 

Michael Birchard, Associate Vice President of Equity and Inclusion, Inver Hills Community College; Dakota County Technical College


Michael Birchard 
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. 

 

Jeffery Boyd, President, Rochester Community and Technical College


Jeffery Boyd
President
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. 

 

Stephanie Burrage,  Interim Superintendent, Robbinsdale Area Schools


Stephanie Burrage
Interim Superintendent
Robbinsdale Area Schools

Dr. Stephanie Burrage is the Interim Superintendent of the Robbinsdale Area Schools with 35 years of experience in education. A published author, her most recent article is published in the Journal of the Center for Policy, Analysis and Research, “​Expanding Early Childhood Resources to Address Racial Disparities in Education, Employment and Incarceration."

 

Elliot Butay, Criminal Justice Coordinator, National Alliance on Mental Illness


Elliot Butay
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.

 

Jon Dalager, System Director of Academic Programs and Quality Assurance, Minnesota State


Jon Dalager
System Director, Academic Programs and Quality Assurance
Minnesota State

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.

 

Gae Davis, Criminal Justice Coordinator, Central Lakes College


Gae Davis
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.  

 

Andriel Dees, Interim System Diversity Officer, Minnesota State


Andriel Dees
Interim System Diversity Officer
Minnesota State

Andriel Dees is the Interim System Diversity Officer 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. 

 

James Densley, Chair of the School of Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice, Metropolitan State University


James Densley
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. 

 

Samantha Diaz, Legislative and Policy Director in Education, Minnesota Council on Latino Affairs


Samantha Diaz
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.  

 

Joe Gothard, Superintendent, Saint Paul Public Schools


Joe Gothard
Superintendent
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.   

 

Sia Her, Executive Director, Council on Asian Pacific Minnesotans


Sia Her
Executive Director
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. 

 

Teri Hinds, Senior Director of Strategic Initiatives – Equity 2030, Minnesota State


Teri Hinds
Senior Director of Strategic Initiatives – Equity 2030
Minnesota State

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. 

 

Merrill Irving, President, Hennepin Technical College


Merrill Irving
President
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.  

 

Aarrick Jackson, Vice President of Academic Affairs, Minnesota State University Moorhead


Arrick Jackson
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. 

 

Amber Jones, Community Outreach Coordinator, Council for Minnesotans of African Heritage


Amber Jones
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.  

 

Ascan Koerner, Associate Dean for Undergraduate Education, College of Liberal Arts, University of Minnesota


Ascan Koerner
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.

 

Wade Lamirande, Law Enforcement Program Coordinator, Fond du Lac Tribal & Community College


Wade Lamirande
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. 

 

Kim Lund Voss, Lieutenant, Minneapolis Police Department, Association of Women Police


Kim Lund
Lieutenant
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.    

 

Kristy Modrow, Student Relations and Experiential Learning Director, School of Public Affairs, St. Cloud State University


Kristy Modrow
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.

 

Marta Mohr, Interim System Director for Transfer, Minnesota State


Marta Mohr
Interim System Director for Transfer
Minnesota State

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.

 

Henry Morris, Vice President for Diversity and Inclusion and Diversity Officer, Minnesota State University, Mankato


Henry Morris
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.

 

Evan Olson, Student at Minnesota State University, Mankato, Students United


Evan Olson
Student at Minnesota State University, Mankato
Students United 

Evan Olson is a third-year Law Enforcement major at Minnesota State University, Mankato. 

 

  

Lyndsey Olson, City Attorney, City of Saint Paul


Lyndsey Olson
City Attorney
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.

 

Paula Palmer, Director of Career and College Success, Minnesota Department of Education


Paula Palmer
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. 

 

Tia Robinson, Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs, Inver Hills Community College


Tia Robinson-Cooper
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. 

 

Rick Sansted, Superintendent, Alexandria School DistrictTia Robinson


Rick Sansted
Superintendent
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.

 

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Peggy Strand
Education Coordinator
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.

 

Sherrise Truesdale-Moore, Associate Professor, College of Social and Behavioral Sciences, Minnesota State University, Mankato


Sherrise Truesdale-Moore
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.  

 

Robbyn Wacker, President, St. Cloud State University


Robbyn Wacker
President
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.

 

Dawanna Witt, Major, Dakota County Sheriff’s Office


Dawanna Witt
Major
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.

 

Pheng Xiong, Police Officer, City of Saint Paul, Minnesota Asian Peace Officers Association


Pheng Xiong
Police Officer
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.

September 30, 2020:

August 26, 2020:

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.

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