Law and Public Policy
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Mission Statement: The ACJS Law and Public Policy Section seeks to raise the awareness of ACJS members to law and policy concerns relevant to criminal justice issues. Our objective is to support members of the ACJS with research, curriculum development and networking. Individuals are encouraged to offer their academic findings to all level of governments for law and policy development.


Membership: Any current member of ACJS is welcome as a new member of the Law and Public Policy Section. Section dues are $10. To join the section, current ACJS members should contact Cathy Barth, Association Manager, at; non-members of ACJS can join ACJS and the section online or by following the instructions available on the Membership page of the ACJS website at:


Section Special Events:

Annual Meeting, March 2017 (Kansas City):


The Law and Public Policy Section has organized two showcase panels at the March 2017 conference.


The first panel will be titled, “Law and Public Policy Showcase Event: American Law Enforcement – What Police Want CJ Scholars to Understand about Policing” will occur on March 22, 2017 at 8 a.m.


Abstract: The literature of policing in America provides both depth and width in understating police operations, police administration and policy psychology. The purpose of the panel will be to provide an avenue for five local police chiefs to discuss their perspectives and critiques on how the profession of policing is studied by the academy and how its research could improve policing on the street and operational levels.


The second panel will be titled, “Law and Public Policy Showcase Event: The “Ferguson Effect” Race and Police Interactions: Academics and Media portrayals” will occur on March 22, 2017 at 9:30a.m.


Abstract: In light of the events in New York (Eric Gardner), Baltimore (Freddie Gray), Ferguson (Michael Brown), Chicago (Laquan McDonald), Cleveland (Tamir Rice and John Crawford), St. Paul (Philando Castile), and Baton Rouge (Alton Sterling) among many other recent incidents of police use of deadly force on Black males; a narrative has developed that police are killing Blacks with impunity. This panel of police chiefs will discuss their perspectives on police use of force, types of force, race and policing, the intentional ambush and killings of police officers in Dallas and Baton Rouge, the legitimacy of the “Ferguson Effect” and how the police are portrayed in the media. The chiefs will reflect on whether the dynamics of race and policing is as bad as the academy and the media portray it to be and what impact does the media and the academy have on street level policing in Black and minority communities.



Both panels will host local police chiefs from the Kansas City area.  


From left to right panelists: Chris Skinrood, Chief, Riverside Missouri Police Department; Robert Kuehl, Major, Deputy Superintendent, Kansas Regional Police Academy, Arthur H. Garrison, panel moderator, Chair of Law and Public Policy Section; Det. Brad Lemon, President & Department Liaison, Kansas City, MO Police Union; and Captain Charles Huth, Staff Inspector, Chief’s Office, Kansas City Police Department.


Section Awards: Each year the section selects a local criminal justice professional in the location of the Annual ACJS conference whose work has been outstanding and innovative within the field of criminal justice. The recipients of the Law and Public Policy Justice Policy Innovator Award have been a diverse group of men and women.


Criteria: The Justice Policy Innovator Award recipient shall be a person who has made a significant and recognized contribution to the quality and improvement of criminal justice by implementing legal and/or criminal justice policy innovations. Designees may be citizens acting in civil society, employees and/or administrators of criminal justice agencies, members of the judiciary and/or the legal profession or academicians. 


The annual designee is selected by the executive board of the Law & Public Policy Section.  




Past winners:

2017, Kansas City

No award given


2016, Denver

Mitchell R. Morrissey was elected District Attorney of Denver in November 2004 and was sworn into office on January 11, 2005. As the chief prosecutor for the Second Judicial District he is responsible for the prosecution of more than 6,000 felony and 18,000 misdemeanor criminal cases every year. He is nationally known for his expertise in DNA technology, applying that technology in criminal prosecutions and working to ensure that DNA science is admissible in our courtrooms. He recognized the potential of DNA science early on and prosecuted the first trial in Denver to utilize DNA. Mr. Morrissey is nationally recognized for establishing a systematic process for the use of DNA evidence to solve cold cases and DNA familial searches to identify suspects in rape and property crime cases; twenty-one percent of property crimes leave blood and saliva evidence. Mr. Morrissey believes that a prosecutor should be academically minded as well as practical in approaching methods for solving crime.