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Former Police Officer-Turned Justice Studies Professor Weighs in on Nationwide Protests

Dr David Thomas.jpg
Brian Tietz/Brian Tietz
Photo By Brian Tietz

While this round of protests was kicked off by George Floyd’s death, they are more broadly aimed at police violence – especially toward minority communities. We talk with someone who spent two decades in law enforcement before becoming a justice studies professor to get his perspective on what’s unfolding.

Dr. David Thomas held many roles over the course of his 20 career. He was a patrol officer, detective, he served in the Street Crimes division, SWAT, Hostage Negotiations, Community Policing, and he trained other officers in many of these roles. Dr. Thomas is also a certified expert in the use of force, and his research interests focus on police ethics, victimology, serial homicide, and inmate populations. After leaving the force, he got a Ph.D. in Forensic Psychology from The Union Institute, and he is now a justice studies professor at Florida Gulf Coast University. He is also author of the book “The State of American Policing: Psychology, Behavior, Problems, and Solutions.”

Mike Kiniry is producer of Gulf Coast Live, and co-creator and host of the WGCU podcast Three Song Stories: Biography Through Music. He first joined the WGCU team in the summer of 2003 as an intern while studying Communication at Florida Gulf Coast University. 
Julie Glenn is the News Director and the host of Gulf Coast Live. She joined the WGCU team in November of 2016 to expand the Gulf Coast Live call-in radio show from once a week to five days a week.  Since then, the show has been recognized in state and regional competitions and has featured artists, political leaders, historians, environmental experts, doctors, local reporters, and national and international scholars. After leading the station's award-winning coverage of Hurricane Irma in September of 2017, Julie was named Interim News Director. In January of 2018, she launched WGCU's first podcast: Grape Minds.