With law enforcement coming under increased scrutiny, there is a pressing need for leaders who are firmly grounded in our constitutional framework, who can build strong community relationships, and who are knowledgeable about the many complex challenges facing most departments. “Policing is a true science,” says retired Charlottesville Police Chief Tim Longo, who serves as program director and faculty for the Master of Public Safety (MPS).
One of the goals of the MPS is to give law enforcement officers the information and insight needed to meet these challenges successfully, but it will do so in the context of what Longo calls “the fundamental elements of policing that will never change.”
For Longo, it was important that the newly-designed graduate program address trends and issues that are at the forefront of policing in America today, while also emphasizing more profoundly the foundational elements of policing that have always been and always will be part of law enforcement: the constitutional framework and community relationships. Additionally, the ability to look across the University of Virginia to build a curriculum founded in world-class expertise in such wide-ranging fields as law, medicine, psychology, public policy, engineering, and business, is what Longo believes will set the part-time graduate program apart.
“Our graduates will gain the data-driven knowledge, best practices, and practical skills required for law enforcement leadership in these difficult times,” says Longo.
The University is well positioned to welcome the inaugural cohort in Fall of 2019, having gained a deep understanding of the needs of law enforcement over decades of collaboration with the FBI National Academy in Quantico and the National Criminal Justice Command College, which it launched in 2005 with the Virginia State Police.
Longo sees the UVA Master of Public Safety as a next step for people climbing the ladder of professional responsibility in law enforcement agencies. It would provide a path for leaders seeking to invest in their own professional development and in using that knowledge to help their departments better meet the challenges of law enforcement in the 21st century.