When he thinks about criminal justice and the need for change in policing, Commander Dwayne Greene finds himself thinking about a question someone recently asked him.
“I attend a lot of community meetings, and a young lady asked me a question: What does justice mean to you?” Greene said. “I could give a textbook answer, but we really have to reimagine what justice looks like. How do we address all the issues that we’re dealing with?”
Finding the answer to that question is what fuels Greene, the commander of Nashville’s Midtown Hills Precinct and a current Trevecca doctoral student. In the midst of a pivotal moment in American criminal justice, he wants to play a role in shaping a new generation of leaders.
That’s why Greene is working alongside Dr. Craig Bishop at Trevecca to develop the curriculum and content that will comprise the University’s new criminal justice program. Greene will also serve as an adjunct faculty member in the program.
“I’m excited about Trevecca’s criminal justice program,” Greene said. “Dr. Bishop and I both agree about the importance of education and how it can help those working in criminal justice—whether it be law enforcement, the courts, social justice—to be able to meet the needs [of the community] and fix the problems we are facing.”
According to Bishop, Trevecca’s new criminal justice program is shaped by the six pillars outlined in the final report of the President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing, a groundbreaking report released in 2015. Detailing the importance of building trust between law enforcement agencies and the communities they serve, the report also highlights the impact of continued education for those working in the field, the use of data and technology in policing and the value of clear policies and oversight.
“Research shows that the more education you have, the more people skills you develop,” Bishop said. “For those in law enforcement, those with higher levels of education have fewer disciplinary issues. This program is not only an opportunity but also a solution for individuals and agencies, helping create well-rounded law enforcement professionals who can truly interact with their communities.”
Trevecca’s Bachelor of Science in criminal justice, a 36-credit-hour degree-completion program, is designed to meet students where they are. Whether they’re already working in the criminal justice field or want to, Bishop says students will gain knowledge and skills they can apply directly to their careers.
“Our program will provide students with valuable information they can apply directly to their careers,” he said. “We want them to be well-rounded professionals who understand the totality of the criminal justice system, not just the area that they’re working in or striving for. We want them to have a solid understanding of what’s happening in all branches of criminal justice: law enforcement, the court system and corrections.”
Bishop is working with a team of criminal justice professionals, like Greene, to develop the program’s curriculum. He and his team are taking a forward-thinking approach, equipping students for the future of criminal justice.
“The historical aspect is important in training,” Greene said. “We have to understand how we became what we are today and what changes need to be made in order to adjust to today’s society.”
The curriculum content will focus on modern policing approaches, including precision policing and transformational leadership, Greene says. Precision policing uses data and information to reveal patterns of crime and create informed investigations. Rather than treating everyone as a suspect, police gather data from other recent crimes to better target the investigation.
“I hope that I can bring my 20 years of experience to the table in shaping the courses around 21st century policing—actually reimagining the police,” Greene said. “The way that we function is changing. The way we communicate with the public is changing. The way we do law enforcement is changing. We’re going more toward community engagement and intelligence-led, precision policing.”
Greene won’t be the only local law enforcement professional serving on the faculty of the program. Capt. Tyler Chandler of the Mt. Juliet Police Department—who earned a master’s in organizational leadership from Trevecca in 2017—will also serve as an adjunct instructor.
“I’m excited that Trevecca is starting a criminal justice program,” he said. “Knowing I can play a role in that program and assist in developing others who make a difference in our community, I find that rewarding personally. But more than that, I hope to make a positive impact to influence others to better serve.”
A 16-year member of the Mt. Juliet Police Department, Chandler is currently third in command. He directly leads the administrative services division, which includes the police and fire communications, records, community engagement, evidence and accreditation units. Chandler also heads up his department’s community outreach, public information, social media and more.
With many of his responsibilities focused on building relationships with the community, Chandler recognizes the value of a program that emphasizes transparency and communication. More than that, he’s excited to be a part of a criminal justice program infused with Christian values.
“I always preach [the importance] of valuing someone’s dignity,” he said. “That’s built into Christian principles, always treating people with respect and dignity, treating them as human beings. When you take someone’s dignity away … then it pulls them further away from supporting law enforcement and can lead to a lack of trust.
“I really like the faith-based principles of education at Trevecca,” Chandler continued. “I really enjoyed it during [my master’s program.] When Christian principles are infused into the curriculum, you realize the principles outlined in the Bible are good leadership principles—and it’s the same in criminal justice.”
Classes start on April 13, 2021. Learn more about the program at trevecca.edu/criminaljustice.