Best of Criminal Justice at Hodges University

Discover the Best of Hodges University’s Criminal Justice Program

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There are many advantages to enrolling in Hodges University’s criminal justice program, including opportunities in experiential learning and receiving instruction by expert professors who have years of experience in the field. Your decision to earn a degree in criminal justice will give you the skills you need to succeed in your future law career.

For example, Hodges alumnus Ace Delva shares how his criminal justice degree led to a career working with individuals in society who are seeking help.

To provide a more thorough explanation of some of the unique opportunities you will receive while earning your criminal justice degree, we have compiled a list of Hodges’ most noteworthy talking points in the criminal justice program.

Experiential Learning
Hodges students not only receive valuable instruction from recommended textbooks, but professors in the criminal justice program often take students outside the classroom and into the field to receive hands-on experience. Here are just a few examples of how experiential learning is integrated into particular criminal justice courses:

Lieutenant John Long
As an adjunct professor and lieutenant with the Lee County Sheriff’s Office forensics division, John Long takes his Introduction to Law Enforcement students on a tour of the Lee County Sheriff’s Office headquarters. In addition, for his course in forensic science, Long stages crime scenes on the grounds of the Hodges campus to allow students to investigate the areas.

Dr. Bernardine Carter
Also an adjunct professor, Dr. Bernardine Carter serves as the college coordinator and senior trainer with the Lee County Sheriff’s Office. Her experience includes serving as a supervisor for the corrections department, warrants unit, records, human resources and training division. In her Introduction to Corrections course, she has taken her students to tour the Lee County and Collier County jails. “This allows the students to actually see the different facilities, get a feel for the profession and gain a better understanding between textbook, TV and reality,” said Carter. “Students also gain a better understanding of how much it costs to house an inmate, the length of stay, charges, life of an inmate, classes available to inmates, life skills available and how jails try to reduce recidivism.”

She has also invited a Lee County judge, senior county probation officer, a juvenile justice probation officer and a major crime investigator to serve as guest speakers in her Criminal Investigations course.

In an effort to understand the process of firearm training, Carter takes her students to the Southwest Florida Police Academy to participate in scenarios similar to those experienced by law enforcement officers. Using a training machine, Carter said, “The goal is to give the student the view of a law enforcement officer.”

Recommended Criminal Justice Books and Videos
Apart from textbooks and hands-on learning, professors often recommended books and/or videos to criminal justice students to help enhance the learning experience. Dr. Daniel Pontzer, program chair of the criminal justice program, recommends the following documentaries:

  • A Murder on Sunday Morning: Taking place in Jacksonville, Florida, this documentary follows the trial of a 15-year-old African American boy, Brenton Butler, who was wrongfully accused of a murder occurring in 2000. The film won Best Document Feature at the Academy Awards in 2002.
  • Gideon’s Army: Occurring in what is referred to as the “Deep South,” the film surrounds three young public defenders who face difficult circumstances of mounting cases, low pay and long hours while attempting to defend impoverished individuals in society.

Published Papers
Hodges professors are experts in their field. From law enforcement officers to lawyers, our professors are well equipped to guide and instruct you through your degree program. Within the program, Dr. Daniel Pontzer has published several articles on topics relating to criminal justice. Some of his articles have been featured in publications such as Forensic Science, the Smart Justice Journal and the Journal of Family Violence. His published works include:

The professors in the criminal justice program at Hodges are accomplished professionals who not only have many years of experience, but who are also recognized for their hard work and achievements.

  • Brian O’Reilly received the George Sanders Law Enforcement Officer of the Year award in 2014.
  • Jeffrey Jones has received numerous awards of merit form the Cape Coral Police Department.
  • Karen Locklear was the founding dean of Hodges’ Nichols School of Professional Studies.

Dr. Daniel Pontzer is an active member of the American Criminal Justice Society, The American Society of Criminology and the Southern Academy of Criminal Justice. His participation in these conferences has led to many chaired sessions and presented papers, including:

  • “Empirical Assessment of Ronald Aker’s Social Learning Theory of Crime and Deviance as it Pertains to Youth Drug Use” (2000); American Society of Criminology Conference, Chicago Illinois, Nov. 16, 2002.
  • “Difficulties and Suggestions for Working as a Statistical Consultant in a University Applied Research Lab” (2002); American Statistical Association Conference, New York.
  • “Testing Reintegrative Shaming Theory as an Explanation of Bullying Behavior among University Students” (2006); American Society of Criminology Conference, Los Angeles California.
  • “Countering International Islamic Terrorism: Imagine, Democracy, and Policing;” Southern Academy of Criminal Justice Conference, New Orleans, LA, Oct. 3, 2008.
  • “Advice for Offender Reentry Programs;” Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences Conference, San Diego, CA, Feb. 24, 2010.
  • “A Summary of the Reid Technique of Criminal Interrogation;” American Society of Criminology Conference, San Francisco, CA, Nov. 17, 2010.
  • “Legal and Non-Legal Influences on U.S. State Prosecution Rates for 2004 Felony Level Arrests:” American Society of Criminology conference in Washington D.C. on Nov. 17, 2011.
  • “On Campus to Online: The Triumphs and Tribulations of Innovation Teaching.” American Society of Criminology Conference, San Francisco, Nov. 18, 2010.
  • “Should Marijuana be Legalized?” Talk of the Times Discussion Series. University of North Florida Student Union, Jacksonville, Feb. 24, 2011.
  • “Detain or Not Detain: Differences in Bail Hearing Outcomes for Assault and Robbery Cases Processed in New York City Compared to Los Angeles.” American Criminal Justice Society, Denver, April 1, 2016.

His chaired sessions include:

  • “Police Investigations and Covert Surveillance.” American Society of Criminology Conference, San Francisco, Nov. 17, 2010.
  • “Policy Issues for Legal Drugs: Alcohol and Pharmaceuticals.” American Society of Criminology Conference, San Francisco, Nov. 17, 2010.
  • “Gene and Environment Interactions in Risk and Protective Factors.” American Society of Criminology Conference, San Francisco, Nov. 17, 2010.
  • “Bail Decisions and Alternative Practices.” American Criminal Justice Society.  Denver, April 1, 2016.