Attorney General Bird Discusses Future of Criminal Justice Education

Iowa’s top law enforcement officer visited Graceland on Wednesday, May 29

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Press Release

May 31, 2024 | Shane Adams

Graceland University hosted Attorney General Brenna Bird for a special event focused on the future of criminal justice programs, particularly in rural Iowa. Interim President Joel Shrock, PhD, warmly welcomed attendees, which included members of the Graceland faculty and administration, Lamoni’s Mayor, Chief of Police Jonathan Mullock, and Graceland student and Lamoni Police Department officer Anthony Cray.

Attorney General Bird emphasized the critical role of community relationships in the success of criminal justice initiatives. She expressed her gratitude for the presence and support of local leaders and Graceland’s dedication to criminal justice education. She also highlighted recently allocated funding for an upcoming cold case initiative in the state, providing opportunities for potential internships and projects for students.

Bird said of the visit, “I appreciate Graceland University taking the time to tell me about their programs and their striving to train our future law enforcement officers. Agencies across the state are in need of men and women to help put criminals in jail and keep our streets safe. Graceland is doing a great job ensuring our future officers are ready for the job.”

Graceland Criminal Justice Professor Matt Schneider, a former law enforcement officer, shared insights into the thriving criminal justice program at Graceland. “Our program is bursting at the seams,” Schneider said, highlighting the exciting growth and development within the department. He stressed the importance of practical experience, which he believes sets Graceland apart. “Anytime I can put a student into the field to do what they want to do, it will either change their mind or it will cement their path,” Schneider stated.

In addition to the thriving criminal justice program, Graceland University is proud to introduce one of the nation’s few undergraduate forensic psychology programs, starting in Fall 2024. This new program, inspired by student interest, will offer an elite academic experience supported by the popular majors of Criminal Justice and Psychology.

Graceland student Anthony Cray, who is entering his senior year, shared his unique journey of balancing his studies with his role as an officer in the Lamoni Police Department. After recently completing the police academy in Des Moines, Cray expressed his gratitude for Graceland’s support, which allowed him to count his academy training as a study-abroad experience.

Chief of Police Jonathan Mullock also expressed his appreciation for Graceland’s support of Officer Cray and highlighted the university’s commitment to fostering strong community ties.

Graceland University’s dedication to student development extends beyond criminal justice. Every four-year student has the opportunity to pursue a second major in Transformational Leadership, equipping them with essential skills in critical thinking, communication, and collaboration. These skills are important not only for law enforcement officers, but for all types of workers in the criminal justice system. The University launched this innovative, first-of-its-kind second major for all four-year undergraduate students in the fall of 2022.

Graceland University is excited about the future and remains committed to providing students with unparalleled educational opportunities that prepare them for impactful careers in criminal justice and beyond.

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