The Department of Criminal Justice at West Chester University has been serving the criminal justice community since 1974. As one of the first academic criminal justice programs on the East Coast, the department has been and remains on the cutting edge of the discipline. It continues to grow, evolve, and keep pace with the developments and advancements in the field. West Chester University's Department of Criminal Justice provides an excellent education for both new criminal justice students and seasoned professionals.
The study of criminal justice continues to be a popular choice for both undergraduate and graduate students. Some students are attracted to the problems and challenges of a rapidly changing field. Others are looking to increase their knowledge base to advance in their chosen professions. The criminal justice degree provides career-oriented individuals the opportunity to obtain employment and/or career advancement positions in a number of public and private agencies, including crime victims' centers, law offices, child welfare agencies, juvenile delinquency centers, offices of the district attorney and/or public defender, probation and parole offices, correctional facilities, and law enforcement agencies.
Criminal Justice finds student Success at WCU
Learn about WCU senior Joseph LaManna's experiences as a first-responder in New York while attending WCU.
CANCELLED: MARCH 22-27th: American Criminal Justice Association National Conference
Time: All day
Location: Kansas City, MO
CANCELLED: APRIL 20th: Forensic Mental Health and Correctional Psychology
Time: 6-7:30 p.m.
Location: Mitchell Hall, Room 103
POSTPONED: MAY 10th: Undergraduate Commencement
Location: Hollinger Field House
Neal Kokatay (2014)
Neal Kokatay graduated from West Chester University with his B.S. in Criminal Justice in 2014 and a M.S. in Criminal Justice in 2016. He was hired by the Pennsylvania Board of Probation and Parole (PBPP) in June 2016 and appointed to the position of Parole Agent I. He graduated as the valedictorian of the 126th basic training academy and was assigned to the West Philadelphia sub-office. In 2017, he was promoted to Parole Agent II. As a parole agent, Neal was required to balance the unique roles of social worker, counselor and law enforcement officer. His duties included, but were not limited to, counseling offenders, coordinating efforts with treatment/service providers, and enforcing the board imposed conditions and criminal law to protect public safety. He attained the rating of commendable on both of his performance evaluations. Read More
Preston Moyer (2018)
Preston Moyer graduated from West Chester University in May of 2018 with a B.S. in Criminal Justice. Moyer is currently a police officer for the Upper Moreland Township Police Department. “West Chester University has helped me obtain my career; more specifically, the internship requirement for my major gave me experience and hands on education that opened doors for employment,” Moyer said. “The Criminal Justice Student Association has given me many memories and the best friends anyone could ask for. Of course, my experience could not happen without professors like Dr. Przemieniecki that make this school better than any!”
Alyssa Hanley (2014)
After graduating from West Chester University as part of the B.S. to M.S. accelerated program, Hanley joined the Philadelphia Police Department in 2015, and was promoted to the rank of Sergeant in 2018. “West Chester University’s criminal justice program provided me an exceptional level of knowledge and insight of the field,” Hanley said. “The practicum program allowed me to gain the tools and real-world experiences needed to maximize my potential in order to market myself within the field of criminal justice. The success of my career thus far is owed greatly to WCU’s exceptional criminal justice program and it’s dedicated professors.”
Keith Criddell (2018)
Keith Criddell graduated from West Chester University in 2018 with a degree in criminal justice and a minor in law, politics, and society. While at WCU, Criddell was a member of the West Chester University Incomparable Golden Rams Marching Band and served on the executive board for the Criminal Justice Student Association. Keith now works as a Child Support Enforcement Officer for the Chester County Domestic Relations Office. The WCU criminal justice program helped Criddell develop professional skills that are necessary to work in the criminal justice field. While in the program, Criddell had the privilege to attend several national conferences with the American Criminal Justice Association. Thanks to the WCU criminal justice program, he had the ability to network and establish connections that are likely to last a lifetime.
Frank Pawlowski (1976)
Frank Pawlowski is a 1976 graduate of West Chester University earning a Bachelor of Science degree in Criminal Justice. He enlisted in the Pennsylvania State Police on June 22, 1978. Following Academy graduation, he was assigned as a Trooper to the Troop J, Embreeville Station in Chester County. As he progressed through the ranks he also served at the Avondale and Lancaster Stations, the Bureau of Criminal Investigation and the Bureau of Professional Responsibility. Read More
Daniel J. DeSimone (1986)
Daniel J. DeSimone graduated summa cum laude from West Chester University with a bachelor's degree in Criminal Justice in 1986. His Criminal Justice practicum at a Fortune 500 company provided him key private sector experience, which when combined with his five years' service in the United States Air Force, served as the foundation for his selection as a Special Agent in the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). Dan served faithfully for 23 years as an FBI Special Agent, holding various positions of increased responsibility in his six different field and headquarters FBI assignments, most notably as the FBI's Chief of Undercover & Sensitive Operations. Following his FBI career, Dan was appointed as Senior Director of Investigative Resources at Thomson Reuters, where he serves as the company's chief interface with law enforcement agencies across the United States and members of the corporate security ranks. For his career in public service and his actions in private life, Dan was awarded Vatican knighthood by Pope Benedict XVI in 2011. In 2014, Dan attended West Chester University's Criminal Justice 40th anniversary campus event.
Vance Row (1999)
"I began working for the Ocean City Police as my internship while at West Chester University and that has become my career. WCU prepared me for a career in law enforcement by having Criminal Justice Practitioners that could offer real world practical examples that helped emphasize their teaching points." - Corporal Vance Row, Ocean City Police Department
Samantha Stever (2019)
Samantha Stever, a 2019 graduate of the WCU criminal justice program, currently works as a victim advocate at Laurel House, a domestic violence agency in Montgomery County. Stever works to empower and support victims of domestic violence through crisis counseling, filing protection orders, court accompaniment, and safety planning. “WCU’s criminal justice program continuously prepared me for my career through a diverse curriculum, ample exciting opportunities, and a strong supportive community of students and staff,” Stever said. “One day in class, a woman came in to speak to us about domestic violence and the impact a victim advocate can have, I then became her intern, and now, I’m her employee! I am forever grateful that WCU’s criminal justice program nurtured my passion for social justice into a career of victim advocacy!”
Molly Donegan (2018)
Molly Donegan graduated from West Chester University with her Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice in 2018, and her Master of Science in Criminal Justice in 2019. Donegan served on the Executive Board for the Criminal Justice Student Association for four of her five years at West Chester, while serving as President for her last two years. She currently works in the Chester County District Attorney’s Office as Executive Assistant to the District Attorney, First Assistant District Attorney, and Chief of Staff. “I am grateful for the experiences and learning opportunities I had at West Chester as they have played a crucial role in jumpstarting my career,” Donegan says. “I wouldn’t be where I am without the help and guidance from the amazing professors. Attending WCU and being so involved gave me great connections to the criminal justice world, as well as enough memories and friends to last a lifetime.”
Tyree C. Blocker (1986)
Tyree C. Blocker, the current Pennsylvania State Police Commissioner, is a 1986 graduate of our Master's program. Commissioner Blocker started his criminal justice career with the Pennsylvania State Police in 1975 as a trooper, working in patrol, criminal investigations, staff services and organized crime with Troops J, T, K, and the Bureau of Criminal Investigations. He worked his way up through the ranks during his 30 year career and retired in 2005 with the rank of major. Over the course of his career, he supervised the administrative operations of 3 Troops, in 13 locations and 750 Troopers in 10 counties, including Philadelphia.