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The Criminal Justice Institute (CJI) is a nonprofit educational entity that provides programs and services designed to enhance the proficiency of Arkansas law enforcement professionals. As a division of the University of Arkansas System, the CJI delivers advanced education and training across the state in progressive areas of criminal justice, including law enforcement management, forensic sciences, computer applications, traffic safety, school safety, and drug issues.
The Criminal Justice Institute was founded in 1988 on the University of Arkansas at Little Rock (UALR) campus to address the management education and training needs of Arkansas law enforcement. Act 1111 of 1993 designated the institute as coordinator and manager of all supervisory, managerial, and executive education and training for Arkansas law enforcement. The following year, Act 35 of the Second Extraordinary Session of 1993 provided the CJI with funding for personnel services and operating expenses and also contributed to the broadening of the institute’s mission to include special emphasis on rural law enforcement, research, and technical assistance. In 1995, the institute moved its headquarters to 7723 Colonel Glenn Road in Little Rock (Pulaski County). Act 1035 of 1997 made the CJI a separate educational division of the University of Arkansas System; it also expanded the institute’s advisory board to include sixteen members and directed the institute to provide management, forensic sciences, computer education and training, and technical assistance; conduct practical research and evaluation; and act as a clearinghouse for Arkansas law enforcement officers.
In addition, the institute established the National Center for Rural Law Enforcement (NCRLE) to expand its programs and services throughout rural America. Through federal grants, the NCRLE offers education, training, and professional development opportunities designed specifically for rural communities. The center has also played a significant role in expanding the technological resources available to rural and tribal law enforcement agencies, conducting valuable research on school violence issues, as well as providing education and training in combating and investigating sexual assault.
In 2002, the CJI began working with the University of Arkansas System and two- and four-year educational institutions in the state to develop academic certificate/degree programs in law enforcement administration and crime scene investigation. After meeting with representatives from higher-education organizations, formal partnerships were established with nineteen two-year and four-year institutions throughout the state. On August 1, 2003, the Arkansas Higher Education Coordinating Board approved both proposals to officially establish these degree programs. This collaboration among Arkansas colleges and universities on behalf of law enforcement was unprecedented in its united effort to make higher education more accessible for working officers. In January 2013, the CJI moved to new offices at 26 Corporate Hill Drive.
Today, the CJI remains committed to meeting the diverse and evolving education and training needs of Arkansas law enforcement. The institute aims to implement distance learning strategies, such as Web-based courses, to allow an increased number of Arkansas law enforcement officers to participate in CJI courses and programs. The addition of distance-learning strategies will effectively eliminate many of the barriers officers currently face in obtaining advanced education and training by allowing officers to complete courses at their own pace and within their communities.
For additional information:Abebe, Mimi. “Degree Programs Reduced in Cost for Law Officers.” Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, June 17, 2009, p. 4B.
Criminal Justice Institute. http://www.cji.edu (accessed November 3, 2014).
“Sugg Approves May to Lead Criminal Justice Institute.” Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, June 26, 2010, p. 7B.
Beth A. GreenCriminal Justice Institute
Last Updated 11/3/2014
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