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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.”