Concern with crime problems was first formally reflected in the offerings at Buffalo State College in September 1969. That semester a new program in Police Science was implemented. The program was established primarily to allow graduates of two-year community college police science programs to continue their education to the baccalaureate level. This change came at a time when police science was being broadened into criminal justice programs stressing interdependence of all agencies in the criminal justice system.
- The Criminal Justice Department at Buffalo State had its beginnings in 1970. The initial emphasis was to train and educate law enforcement personnel, such as police officers, probation and parole officers, prison personnel and security personnel. The program was designed to prepare graduates for graduate work in law and social work. Few colleges had such a program, and only two existed in New York State, The City University of New York (1964) and the State University of New York at Albany (1968).
- In 1977, the Criminal Justice Department began offering a Master’s degree in Criminal Justice.
- Due to statewide budget cuts to SUNY, the Criminal Justice Department was merged with the Social Work Department from 1977 until 1986.
- A minor in criminal justice was approved in May 1980.
- In 1986, the Criminal Justice Department separated from the Social Work Department and the two became separate departments again.
- Dr. Song was hired in 1988 as an assistant professor. He is currently our longest serving faculty member in the department.
- Fall 1991, the Criminal Justice Department introduced a new undergraduate curriculum. New courses reflected the changing nature of crime and the response to it.
- New elective course offerings were added to the Criminal Justice Minor in 1992 and again in 1996. A more diverse list of supporting electives provided students with flexibility and reflected the growing demand and interest in criminal justice courses.
- Dr. Elizabeth Szockyj was hired in 1991 and Dr. Scott Johnson was hired in 1994.
- Drs. Cretacci (2006), D’Angelo (2007), Phillips (2006), Sobol (2008) and Wu (2009) were all hired as assistant professors.
- Dr. Scott Phillips received a graduate certificate in Intelligence Studies from Mercyhurst College in 2008 and helped develop the Intelligence Analysis Minor Program which went into effect in 2011.
- Enrollment increased significantly during this era. In fall 2009, the department had 551 students and by fall 2017, there were 725 students.
- Dr. Scott Phillips was named Futurist Scholar in Residence, from the Behavioral Science Unit, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Academy in Quantico, VA in Fall 2010.
- New courses focused on Statistics, Terrorism, Intelligence Analysis and Crime Analysis were created. New faculty were hired to teach these new courses.
- The Intelligence Analysis Minor became effective Fall 2011.
- The Graduate Program was revised (fall 2015) with 6 “core” classes being required for all majors (the remaining classes are electives).
- Criminal Justice internship criteria changed to provide more students with the opportunity for field experience (fall 2019).
- Drs. Gayadeen (2012), Kim (2012), Menasco (2013), Breen (2016) and Petlakh (2018) were hired as assistant professors.
- Revised undergraduate curriculum and updated elective requirements for criminal justice majors. The department enhanced the concentrations in Police, Corrections and Intelligence Analysis.
Chairs of the Criminal Justice Department
Edward Morgan (1970-1977)
*Criminal Justice and Social Work combined Departments from 1977-1986
Edward Morgan (1983-1985)
Sam Maislin (1985-1987), Criminal Justice Program Coordinator
Edward Morgan (1987-1989)
Dr. Robert Pursley (1987-1990)
Dr. John Conley (1990-1996)
Dr. Charles Reasons (1996-1998)
Dr. John Song (1999-2006)
Dr. Elizabeth Szockyj (2006-2012)
Dr. Michael Cretacci (2012-2015)
Dr. James J. Sobol (2015-present)