The mission of the MacMurray College criminal justice department is to cultivate graduates ready to become successful professionals in the criminal justice field. Graduates understand criminal justice theory, research, policies and procedures, and their relationship with the liberal arts. Students are immersed in a well-rounded curriculum that prepares them for a wide variety of careers in criminal justice or with private and government security agencies. Classes go into great detail in all disciplines, including policing, corrections, probation, parole, federal or state agents, government security, and private security.

What makes our program different from others?

Program Learning Outcomes

MacMurray College's criminal justice program is committed to providing graduates with the knowledge and skills to become successful professionals in the criminal justice field. Upon successful completion of the MacMurray College criminal justice degree program, graduates are expected to show academic and professional proficiency in the following:

Career Preparation

Students who take advantage of all that MacMurray offers are better prepared to enter their chosen field, and quickly begin a rewarding and accomplished professional career in criminal justice or homeland security.

MacMurray graduates have been hired by such agencies as the Springfield Police Department, the Illinois Department of Corrections, and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service.

Collaboration with Criminal Justice Agencies

MacMurray College's criminal justice staff utilizes extensive contacts developed from their years of professional service to augment the program, courses, and student opportunities. This allows the students to learn from hard-earned, unique, real-life experiences which they can then combine with their theoretical knowledge in the professional field upon graduation.

Internships

As a criminal justice degree student, you are required to attend at least one internship before you graduate, although you may perform as many as three. This opportunity allows you to work directly for the host agency, building contacts and gaining invaluable real-world, professional experience. The internship expands on the criminal justice curriculum, which assists students in developing the skills necessary to enter the job market. MacMurray College criminal justice students have completed internships with the Illinois State Police, Morgan County Sheriff's Office, Jacksonville Police Department, Springfield Police Department, and a host of other agencies throughout the nation. Other criminal justice internship placements have included prosecutor's offices, probation, parole, coroner's offices, and private sector placements.

Career Fairs

Criminal Justice and Homeland Security majors are encouraged to attend career fairs throughout the year. Attending career fairs is an excellent way for students to get to know and make themselves known to potential employers.

With MacMurray's close proximity to the state capital of Springfield, there are numerous opportunities to make such connections, and the Criminal Justice and Homeland Security programs often arrange for transportation to go in groups to such events. In addition, students are encouraged and helped to go further afield, to such events as the Law Enforcement and Justice Administration Career Fair every fall at Western Illinois University in Macomb, IL.

The curriculum is continually updated to keep pace with the latest criminal justice trends and developments. Additionally, instructors use professionals from the various fields of criminal justice to serve as guest lecturers. Our course offerings include a broad spectrum of criminal justice classes that includes forensics, cybercrimes, and critical incident management.

Learn more about Criminal Justice courses and how to pursue a degree in Criminal Justice through our academic catalog.

CRIM 101. Introduction to Criminal Justice. (3) The evolution of the system of criminal justice in the United States; differing approaches to law enforcement; and the process of criminal justice from intake to dismissal through its main agencies: police, courts, corrections, probation, and parole. Current problems, experiments, and reforms in criminal justice. Planning for a career in criminal justice.

CRIM 128. Juvenile Justice. (3) An analysis of the factors causing juvenile delinquency; theory and practice of delinquency prevention and intervention; the juvenile justice system involving arrest, prosecution, and rehabilitation of juvenile delinquents; and juvenile codes. No prerequisite.

CRIM 143. Writing in Criminal Justice. (3) Study and practice of written reporting as required in criminal justice. Strong emphasis on the mechanics of report writing, including accurate choice of words, spelling, grammar, syntax, style, punctuation, editing, and proofreading. Prerequisite: Criminal Justice major.

CRIM 201. Criminal Law. (3) Purpose and scope of criminal law, the definition of criminal conduct, the classification and definition of specific offenses, defenses to criminal liability, complicity and vicarious liability, and inchoate offenses. Prerequisite: CRIM 101 or HSEC 101 with a grade of C or better or permission of instructor.

CRIM 202. Criminal Procedure. (3) A detailed analysis of due process of law from the initial investigation to the ultimate disposition of the case, including search and seizure, interrogation, hearings, motions, pleas and trial procedures, the role of the principal trial participants, basic rules of evidence, sentencing, and the appellate process. Prerequisite: CRIM 201 with a grade of C or better or permission of instructor.

CRIM 203. Cyber Crimes I. (3) Provide the student knowledge regarding the types of computer crimes that exist and the motives behind those crimes. The course will afford an understanding of the variety of methods and techniques commonly used to commit computer crimes. Course content will focus on the laws that are in place to assist law enforcement with investigating and prosecuting perpetrators in computer crimes as well as the impact on victims and society.

CRIM 204. Cyber Crimes II. (3) Provide the student knowledge regarding the types of computer crimes that exist such as "hacktivism," cyberterrorism, cyberbullying, and child pornography and other sex offenses. The course will also address the criminological theories behind cybercrimes. In addition, the course will afford an understanding of the variety of laws and resources available to police and engage the student in practical investigative exercises.

CRIM 211, 212. Forensic Science I and II. (3, 3) Principles and techniques of collecting, preserving, and analyzing evidence; using photography, medical pathology, toxicology, serology, ballistics, graphology, polygraph tests, voice prints, and other aids for the analysis of evidence such as physical damage, hair, blood, semen, drugs, weapons, documents, and oral statements; and the operation of crime laboratories and the use of evidence in court. Forensic Science I is not a prerequisite to Forensic Science II.

CRIM 232. Criminology. (3) The nature and causation of crime. The nature of criminal behavior, theories, and research. Prerequisite: SCWK 101 or permission of instructor.

CRIM 244. Victimology. (3) This course focuses upon crime and the justice system from the victims' perspective. Students will study and gain an understanding of the legal, social, psychological, and economic perspectives, approaches, and consequences of victimization from an individual, institutional, and legal point of view. The course will examine the levels, dynamics, and major correlates and consequences of primary and secondary criminal victimization and the appropriateness of a variety of formal and informal responses aimed at preventing and/or remedying them. Emphasis throughout the course will be upon developing students' skill at systematically clarifying the definition of those problems and proposed or existing responses, as well as understanding and applying criteria and methods by which alternative responses might be evaluated. Prerequisite: CRIM 101.

CRIM 250. Internship I. (3) Supervised field experience in criminal justice. Working with their advisors and the Career Services Office, students arrange an internship in criminal justice. The students will then work in the field during the semester, meeting in the classroom to report on related reading and the field experience. Prerequisites: second semester sophomore or above and minimum 2.00 grade point average. Must have permission of instructor prior to registration. Cross listed with HSEC 250.

CRIM 251. Internship II. (3) Supervised field experience in criminal justice and homeland security. Working with advisors and the Career Services Office, students arrange and internship in his/her career field. The students will then be provided "real-world" experience in the field during the semester. The classroom portion will consist of discussion and preparation for the written test students will take upon entry into the career of their choice. Prerequisites: CRIM/HSEC 250. Cross listed with HSEC 251.

CRIM 252. Internship: Student Safety Aide. (1) This Internship will afford students the ability to be a part of ensuring a safe campus environment at MacMurray College while exposing them to the practical application of their academic experience in the Criminal Justice and Homeland Security Program. As a Student Safety Aide, students will interact with faculty, staff, students, and campus guests. Student Safety Aides perform in a supporting role to campus security, serve at sporting events, and other campus activities, to include providing campus escorts when requested. Participants will be required to complete designated online Incident Command System training courses offered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, successfully complete first aide/CPR training, and participate in the annual campus safety project. Prerequisites: Completion of 60 credit hours; online completion of NIMS/ICS courses IS-100.b, IS-700.b, and IS-800.b; minimum 2.5 GPA. This does not take place of an internship within the department. Cross listed with HSEC 252.

CRIM 300. Corrections. (3) An overview of corrections including rationales for punishment, the history of corrections, alternate means of correction, and contemporary issues in corrections. Class will include visits to correctional institutions. Prerequisite: Criminal Justice major with 18 hours of courses in the major or permission of the instructor.

CRIM 305. Community Corrections. (3) This course explores the history, functions, purposes, and operations of community-based corrections programs and how they are linked to the larger criminal justice system. Particular emphasis will be placed on the development of community corrections as an alternative and supplement to incarceration. No prerequisite.

CRIM 314. Security. (3) An overview of security including the history and future of security, career opportunities in security, specialized security fields, risk management, crime prevention, and technological services. Prerequisite: CRIM 101 with a grade of C or better, or permission of instructor.

CRIM 318. Constitutional Law and Criminal Justice. (3) Significant cases, principles, and trends in the interpretation of the United States Constitution. The class emphasizes those sections of the Constitution most directly related to the Criminal Justice system. Prerequisites: CRIM 101, 201, and 202 with grades of C or better or permission of instructor.

CRIM 320. Policing. (3) Study and practice of some of the commonly performed duties of police. Included are crime prevention and detection, patrol tactics, criminal and traffic enforcement, accident investigation, arrest and apprehension procedures, and trial court testimony. This course is designed to give the student an understanding of the importance that each of the above components have on the success of a police agency. Prerequisites: CRIM 101, 201, and 202 with grades of C or better or permission of instructor.

CRIM 325. Criminal Investigations. (3) This course is designed to introduce students to the unique aspects of criminal investigation. Students will explore investigative theory, the collection and preservation of evidence including the legal aspects, sources of information, concepts of interviewing and interrogation, the use of forensic sciences, and trial preparation. Emphasis will be placed on investigative techniques employed, identification of motives and modus operandi, and the use of informants. Learning how to gather information through interviews and interrogation and applying legal concepts to solving crime will be important focuses of the course. The course will also examine concepts and methods of investigation of specific forms of crime (for example, homicide, sexual assault, arson, and robbery). Prerequisite: CRIM 101 with a grade of C or better.

CRIM 330. Administration and Organization of Criminal Justice Agencies. (3) Examines police administration from multiple perspectives: a systems perspective (emphasizing the interrelatedness among units and organizations); a traditional, structural perspective (administrative principles, management functions, and the importance of written guidelines); a human behavioral perspective (the human element in organizations); and a strategic management perspective (communications and information systems, performance evaluation, strategies and tactics, and prevailing and promising approaches to increasing effectiveness of police agencies). Prerequisites: CRIM 101, 201, and 202.

*CJ 390. Special Topics in Criminal Justice (for online students). (3) Topics address recently identified current events, trends, skills, knowledge, and/or attitudes and behaviors pertinent to criminal justice and relevant to the professional development of the student. This course may be repeated if topics and learning outcomes vary.

CRIM 495. Seminar in Criminal Justice. (3) A comprehensive analysis of a major problem, leading to a senior thesis proposal. Prerequisite: cumulative grade point average of at least 3.50 in Criminal Justice classes and 3.25 overall.

CRIM 497. Senior Thesis. (3) Prerequisite: grade of A in CRIM 495.

Beyond having the required academic qualifications, all faculty members are required to have been employed in the criminal justice arena and have a minimum of 10 years' service experience — they have either retired or are still serving in criminal justice agencies. Our current faculty consists of a state police district commander, a retired state police crime lab director, two correctional/parole officers, a criminal courts judge, and a federal prosecutor.

Photo of Bruce Liebe

Bruce Liebe

Senior Director of the School of Professional Studies, Assistant Professor of Homeland Security

"The class sizes allow you to connect with students. You get to know students and have ample opportunity to interact with them. The MacMurray environment truly creates a family atmosphere."

  • Areas of interest: Liebe has a special interest in the management of critical incidents and the decision making process utilized in both routine and crisis situations.
  • M.A. in Legal Studies — University of Illinois-Springfield
  • B.A. in Criminal Justice — University of Illinois-Springfield
  • A.A.S. in Criminal Justice — Illinois Valley Community College
  • Courses taught: Introduction to Homeland Security, Domestic and International Terrorism, Tradecraft and Weaponry of Terrorism, Transportation Networks and Homeland Security, Intelligence, Public Health and Homeland Security, Criminal Incident Management, Homeland Security Strategies and Policy, Mass Violence

Angela Balfe

Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice and Homeland Security

Photo of Trent Thompson

Trent Thompson

Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice and Homeland Security

"As a father of two wonderful boys, a retired military leader and an athletics coach, I enjoy working with and providing guidance and support to our young adults as they become our future leaders, coaches and parents."

  • Areas of interest: Thompson enjoys a very active, family-oriented lifestyle, and he continues to be very involved with the public service sector and community organizations and clubs. He and his wife enjoy traveling and exploring new places and things; watching their two boys (25 and 20) grow, experience life and discover their passion; and having the companionship of their two dogs. Thompson is an avid cyclist, specifically focused on off-road, ultra-distance endurance rides and races, as well as a volunteer wrestling coach at the high school level.
  • M.S. in Safety, Security, and Emergency Management — Eastern Kentucky University
  • B.S. in Organizational Leadership — Greenville University
  • Courses taught: Introduction to Private Security, Introduction to Homeland Security, Intelligence and Homeland Security, U.S. Healthcare System and Homeland Security, Weaponry of Terrorism, Transportation Networks and Homeland Security, and Homeland Security Strategy and Policy
  • Program — awarded chapter of the Order of the Sword and Shield, a national honor society for homeland security students.
  • MacMurray College's 2017 Lincoln Academy of Illinois Student Laureate Award recipient double majored in criminal justice and homeland security. This is one of the most prestigious awards given to a graduating senior.
  • Bruce Liebe, senior director of the School of Professional Studies, has authored numerous articles on critical incident management for the National Tactical Officers Association's journal and the Illinois Tactical Officer's Association journal. He also consults with various police SWAT programs throughout the United States regarding incident management strategies.
  • Robert Elliott, assistant professor of Criminal Justice, is an accredited professional emergency manager, certified by the Illinois Emergency Management Agency.
Photo of Abby Youngblood

Abby Youngblood
Criminal Justice and Homeland Security Major

"The Illinois Emergency Agency (IEMA) is a state agency that helps communities recover after natural disasters, and the personnel are often police officers, firefighters, and EMTs. At IEMA we did a lot of revising policies the state uses during emergencies so I incorporated a lot of writing and grammar skills along with my knowledge of the National Incident Management System (NIMS) and the Incident Command System (ICS) that I learned in my major specific classes.

"This internship gave me lots of experience and insight into what happens when a disaster strikes Illinois such as a flood or tornado. I also discovered all the behind-the-scenes work that occurs when there is not a disaster. Along with experience and learning, interning at IEMA gave me the opportunity to network with professionals in my career field and to form relationships that could benefit me after I graduate."

Photo of David Searby, Jr.

David Searby, Jr. '96

"My experiences at MacMurray taught me to continue to learn. This not only helps you succeed in your given profession but life in general. The process of learning and what I learned at MacMurray definitely benefited me in law school and in various other aspects of my life. Additionally, MacMurray gives you a real sense of community and that continues through your life, wanting to help your individual community and make it a better place."

Attorney David Searby, Jr. graduated from MacMurray College with a bachelor of science degree in criminal justice/political science in December 1995. While attending MacMurray, he participated actively in campus life, serving as a four-year member of MacMurray Student Association, Campus Activities Board, and Sigma Tau Gamma. He was a member of MacMurray Alumni Council of Students for three years, Mortar Board for two years, and Jane Hall House Council for one year. He also served as a MacMurray Peer Educator for two years and received the Criminal Justice department award.

He immediately put his education to work in 1996 as a criminal analyst and telecommunicator for the Perry County Sheriff's Office and the Du Quoin police department. He completed his juris doctor degree and the Southern Illinois University School of Law in Carbondale in 2001. In the same year, he was admitted to practice law in the State of Illinois and joined the Illinois State Bar Association and Kurt E. Harris Law Firm, where he is currently employed.

He is an active board member of Five Star Industries, Inc. a not-for-profit corporation providing residential and employment services for disabled persons. Searby has served as a member of the Emergency Services and Disaster Agency for the City of Du Quoin, Illinois since 1997 as an operations officer and as a public information officer since 2001. He achieved the Illinois Emergency Management Agency's "Professional Emergency Manager" designation and has been awarded the Humanitarian Service Medal from the Illinois Emergency Services Management Association. Additionally he is a Certified Emergency Manager through the International Association of Emergency Managers. He provided valuable service while deployed to the state of Mississippi as part of the Illinois Incident Management Team following Hurricane Katrina in September 2005. He has been a Perry County Youth Court Moderator since 2007 and has drafted and testified on various pieces of legislation in the Illinois General Assembly regarding emergency management issues. Searby was named as a fundraising "Hero" for the American Red Cross in 2006. He received the Young Alumni award from MacMurray College in 2006 and has served as a member of the MacMurray College Alumni Board from 2003 to 2010.