Alumnus and retired police officer turned college professor offers perspective on nationwide protests

Dr. David Thomas, who earned his Ph.D. from Union in 1978 with a concentration in Forensic Psychology, is a retired police officer and current Justice Studies Professor at Florida Gulf Coast University.

In this interview, he offers a candid, insightful, and first-hand account of the many problems between police and minority communities, and contextualizes his experience within the events happening in cities across the nation.

He served as a police officer in Michigan and Florida, retiring from the Gainesville Police Department after more than 20 years. Throughout his career in law enforcement, he served in various roles, including patrol officer, detective, street crimes division, SWAT, hostage negotiations, and community policing. In addition, he trained other officers in many of these roles.

Dr. Thomas is also a veteran and certified expert in the use of force. His research interests focus on police ethics, victimology, serial homicide, and inmate populations.

His book “The State of American Policing: Psychology, Behavior, Problems, and Solutions” outlines a detailed description of police culture and systemic bias against minorities that continues to plague us in today’s society. He also discusses possible solutions.

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