La Sierra University's new criminal justice headquarters.
La Sierra University's new criminal justice headquarters.

October 15, 2010

RIVERSIDE, Calif. – ( A federal government rollout of $1 billion in grants is helping police departments nationwide hire and retain personnel. Meanwhile, a new criminal justice degree program launching in Riverside County aims to turn out skilled candidates to help meet the need.
This fall, La Sierra University is beginning classes for its new Bachelor of Science degree program in criminal justice. The university’s Psychology Department operates the program that will train students for a variety of careers in public safety, forensic science, corrections, private security, court administration and other fields.
Criminal justice classes began on Sept. 27 with 26 students enrolled. Classes are held in an 11,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art facility at 1305 Corona Pointe Court in Corona. In a glistening new CSI lab, students will acquire a range of skills, including arrest and control techniques, weaponless defense, finger printing, ballistics, crime scene processing and law enforcement decision-making capability through simulation training. Call 951-272-6300 for additional information.
Dr. Lisa Murphy is the program’s assistant professor of criminal justice and on-site director. She began her new post on Aug. 23. Murphy earned a Ph.D. in sociology from the University of California, Riverside. She arrives from California State University, Long Beach where she served as an assistant professor of criminal justice for three years.
The bachelor’s degree program has two collaborating faculty members and one part-time instructor in addition to Murphy. She was drawn to the criminal justice field through an interest in studying juvenile delinquency and domestic violence, Murphy said. “I was also interested in the role early childhood victimization played in the development of juvenile delinquency and domestic violence perpetration and victimization,” she said.
While other universities offer criminal justice curricula similar to La Sierra’s, students in LSU’s four-year program will take the various classes together by year, as a cohort. Additionally, La Sierra’s program is unique among others in the area in that a portion of its staff is specifically designated to help students find criminal justice jobs following  graduation, Murphy said. 


The criminal justice field offers students many job opportunities, Murphy said. “It is a good major if you are interested in going to law school, becoming a police officer, probation officer or correctional officer, if you want to work for a nonprofit agency like a rape crisis center or domestic violence shelter, or if you are interested in working for a state agency or federal agency like the FBI or CIA,” she said.
Criminal justice student Evan Lee wants to become a special agent with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration. “Everything is always new. It’s exciting, fast-paced,” he said when asked about his reasons for specializing with the DEA. Lee said his interest in the legal system drew him to the criminal justice field. “It’s …not [only] justice for a particular crowd, but justice for all,” he said.
The job market for many areas of the industry is expected to increase over the coming years.
The U.S. Department of Justice announced last July its allocation of $1 billion in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funding for retaining and hiring new law enforcement personnel through its Community Oriented Policing Services Hiring Recovery Program. COPS grants are covering full-time salaries and benefits at 1,046 municipal police departments, sheriffs’ departments and tribal law enforcement agencies.
Additionally the California Employment Development Department projects, through 2016, an average 550 job openings annually for detectives and criminal investigators, an average 130 openings per year for forensic science technicians, an average 1,660 annual openings for correctional officers, and an average 230 annual openings for correctional officer supervisors. 


PR Contact: Larry Becker
Executive Director of University Relations
La Sierra University
Riverside, California
951.785.2460 (voice)


Dr. Lisa Murphy teaches a class at La Sierra's new criminal justice facility in Corona, Calif.
Dr. Lisa Murphy teaches a class at La Sierra's new criminal justice facility in Corona, Calif.
  • Last update on  October 29, 2010