Celebrating 50 Years of Service: Changing Criminal Justice Around the World

As part of an international exchange, police officers from Poland visited the Galveston Police Department in 2014.
As part of an international exchange, police officers from Poland visited the Galveston Police Department in 2014.

Across the globe, international graduates from the College of Criminal Justice are making a difference in policing and academia in their native countries.

Over the last 50 years, Sam Houston State University has educated and trained professionals in many countries, including Botswana, China, Korea, Jamaica, Mexico, Taiwan, Thailand, and Turkey, to name a few. Many of these graduates now serve in high-ranking positions in their countries, making decisions on policies and practices around the world.

Dr. Carl Williams, Jamaican Police Commissioner
Dr. Carl Williams, Jamaican Police Commissioner
Most recently, Dr. Carl Williams was named the new Police Commissioner for the island nation of Jamaica in September, commanding a force of 15,000 to 16,000 employees, including 12,000 sworn officers. The agency is responsible for law and order on the island, the prevention and detection of crime, the investigation of alleged crimes, the protection of life and property, and the enforcement of all criminal laws in the Jamaican penal code.

At SHSU, he studied organized crime and used his research to develop new initiatives to fight lottery scams and guns and gangs. “The academic training helped me to think of new strategies to get the initiatives off the ground,” said Dr. Williams.

Lt. Col. Rafal Wasiak is the advisor to the Commander-in Chief of the Polish National Police. He travels the world enhancing international dialog on police procedures, particularly as a member of the European Union, to fight shared criminal activities such as human trafficking, narcotics, white collar crime and cybercrime.

Picture of Lt. Col. Rafal Wasiak
Lt. Col. Rafal Wasiak
Poland also participates in an international exchange program between Polish and American police and correctional officials from the Law Enforcement Management Institute of Texas and the Correctional Management Institute of Texas. This allows officers to learn new practices and the latest research in criminal justice in each country.

“Without international cooperation, I do not see a future for the police force,” Lt. Col. Wasiak said. “Criminal organizations are not working locally. They are not even working nationally. They are acting, many of them, internationally.”

In China, Dr. Hongwei Zhang is a professor at the School of Law at Guangxi University, Nanning, and one of the leading scholars on juvenile justice in his country. He developed and teaches various courses in juvenile justice, criminal law and victimology. He also practiced law as the deputy chief procurator in the Nanning Prefectural People’s Procuratorate in Guangxi and has served as a legal expert in criminal and juvenile cases.

Guangzi UniversityDr. Zhang is a faculty member at Guangxi University in China.Dr. Zhang continues to work on research projects on crime and the prosecution system in China and still keeps in touch with and collaborates with faculty from SHSU, including Drs. Raymond Teske, Jihong Solomon Zhao and Ling Ren. As an expert in the field, Dr. Zhang frequently shares his opinion with the Judicial and Legislative Committee of Chinese National People’s Congress as well as the Supreme Court, Supreme Procuratorate and other judicial and government bodies at the national and provincial level. He also hold key positions in professional organizations in Asia.

“It was a Texas-style sunny day when I first arrived in Huntsville,” recalled Dr. Zhang. “The friendliness and warmth of the administrators and faculty made me quickly attached to this place. Most importantly, Criminal Justice Center has a group of distinguished professors with abundant experience of teaching and research. I have to say that they are “the cream of the crop” in their respective fields…As time goes on, my story with my alma mater will continue.”

Elliot Fana, a graduate of the master's in forensic science program, works in Botswana fighting hoof and mouth disease.Elliot Fana, a graduate of the master's in forensic science program, works in Botswana fighting hoof and mouth disease.In Botswana, Elliot Mpolokang Fana headed murder and burglary investigations for the Botswana Police Forensic Laboratory after earning a master’s degree in Forensic Science at Sam Houston State University before joining the private sector. He now works at the Botswana Vaccine Institute, producing vaccines to combat foot and mouth disease in sub-Saharan Africa.

“SHSU opened my eyes, my exposure to the real world of forensics through the internship program I had at the Harris County Medical Examiner’s office,” said Fana. “There I managed to see case work from sample reception up to court presentation of evidence. I then used this observation in setting up an operational molecular laboratory at the Botswana Forensic Laboratory. During my internship I was exposed to the use of CODIS, which I pioneered as soon as I arrived in Botswana.”

Sam Houston State University continues to grow and thrive internationally.

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