Dr. Samuel Walker to Discuss Police Accountability at Beto Lecture

Beto Chair Lecture
Feb 15, 9:30 to 11 a.m.
Hazel B. Kerper Courtroom

Dr. Samuel Walker, a nationally recognized expert on policing, criminal justice policy and civil liberties, will present "Two Steps Forward, One Step Back: Recent Developments in Police Accountability" at the next Beto Chair Lecture on Feb. 15.

Dr. Walker, Emeritus Professor of Criminal Justice at the University of Nebraska at Omaha, is the author of 13 books and dozens of articles in prestigious publications. Dr. Walker is perhaps best known for his work on police accountability, including two books on “Driving While Female,” and for his definitive history of the American Civil Liberties Union.

His most recent book, The New World of Police Accountability, was published in 2005 and examines the most important recent developments in the field and “best practices,” including state of the art policies on the use of force, an early intervention system and a customer-friendly complaint system. These best practices are incorporated in Justice Department Consent Decrees over the Los Angeles, Cincinnati and other police departments.

Dr. Walker’s most recent articles have appeared in the Department of Justice, Urban Institute Press, George Mason Civil Rights Journal, Criminal Justice Policy Review and Police Practice and Research . Among the issues he addresses are federal pattern or practice litigation; developments in New Orleans; early intervention systems; citizen oversight of the police; police accountability in organizations; mediation of citizen complaints: race, ethnicity and criminal justice; sustaining police reforms; and internal benchmarking for racial profiling.

Dr. Walker recently won the W.E.B. Dubois Award from the Western Society of Criminology for his contributions to the field in the areas of race and ethnicity. During his career, Walker won numerous awards, grants and fellowships, including a $1million Congressional grant for a Police Professionalism Initiative (2002-2005), fellowships from the Ford Foundation and the Open Society Institute, the National ACLU Tribute to Civil Libertarians Award (2006), Faculty of the Year at the University of Nebraska at Omaha (2002) and the Distinguished Alumni Award from his alma mater, The Ohio State University (2001).

Dr. Walker received his Ph.D. in American History from The Ohio State University in 1973 and began teaching at the University of Nebraska in 1974. As a student, he was active in the civil rights movement, serving as a volunteer in the historic Mississippi “Freedom Summer” in 1964 to register black voters in the state. One of his fellow activists was Andrew Goodman, who along with Mickey Schwerner and James Chaney, was murdered at the beginning of the project by the Ku Klux Klan.

He continues to following civil liberties, most recently examining how the full range of issues has fared under 16 presidents in the modern era, from Woodrow Wilson to Barack Obama. Poor Custodians: Presidents and Civil Liberties from Woodrow Wilson to George W. Bush, a work in progress, covers freedom of speech and press; religious liberty; due process of law; equal protection, including racial justice, women’s rights, lesbian and gay rights; privacy, including abortion, government data banks, and surveillance; and all the issues related to national security.

In addition to his publications and presentations to professional associations, Dr. Walker has served as a consultant to many large and small police departments, including Los Angeles, CA; Albuquerque, NM; Austin, TX; Boston, MA; Chicago, IL; Cincinnati and Cleveland, OH; Miami, FL; Minneapolis, MN; and Phoenix, AZ, to name a few. He also is a member of the Working Group on Sexual Offenses by Police Officers at the International Association of Chiefs of Police.

The Beto Chair Lecture Series, established in 1979, brings top scholar from the field of criminology and criminal justice to Sam Houston State University. The distinguished speakers, who have gained national eminence in the field, brings new vitality to the learning experience for students and faculty alike.

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