Criminal Justice & Security Management: The Merging of Previously Separate Fields

Posted by Marita Malone

In the Fall of 2009 Saint Louis University’s School for Professional Studies initiated a unique degree called Criminal Justice and Security Management. The degree is unique in that the knowledge from the course offerings bridges two formerly distinct disciplines, the private and public security sectors, giving student strengths that historically have been weaknesses in a singular sector.

Students choose a track in criminal justice, security management, or security management technology to complete the degree, although the major courses are a combination of both fields. This degree provides a student with more professional options. Students who already have a degree and are seeking other career or promotional opportunities may obtain an 18-hour certificate in any of the three tracks.

What are the differences between the two fields? Criminal justice does not have the same “bottom line” as security management. The former’s bottom line is measured in service, law and order. The latter’s bottom line items are revenue and the shareholder satisfaction. Hence, the priorities of each sector are different.

In criminal justice, due process, rule of law and obedience to the United States Constitution and the Bill of Rights, along with thorough, fair investigations, are priorities.

In the corporate security world, risk and liability, protection of corporate assets, to include data and reputation, and human resource and legal issues in organizations are priorities.

If an employee was found bilking a company of hundreds of thousands of dollars, a law enforcement official would investigate and bring criminal charges. The security officer would be confronted by a chief executive officer (CEO), who would first determine how knowledge of the criminal activity might affect the shareholders and the reputation of the company; if it is detrimental to the company to prosecute, the CEO might just fire the employee and hope the whole incident goes away.

The criminal justice field’s strengths are comprehension
of the law, the criminal process, and the investigation of a crime. Private security understands crime prevention, risk management and cyber security.

The Criminal Justice and Security Management Program builds on the strengths of each side of the security house. When a student takes the major courses of the degree, he or she understands the reasons why people commit crime, the administration of the criminal justice system and corporate security, the principles of security, crime prevention and loss prevention, the safety sciences, constitutional and criminal law, evidence, and criminal investigations.

If a student chooses the security management technology emphasis or certificate, the student will still have a combination of law enforcement and private security knowledge. The coursework is steeped in basic computer understanding, such as networking, data analysis and design, and information systems and technology. The courses also cover areas that are essential to both sides of the security house: information systems security, computer crime investigations, and computer forensics.

The security management technology track meets two needs of the criminal justice and security management field.

First, in the private sector the information technology (IT) and security folks often conflict. When the security professional sees a need to investigate a company policy violation, the investigator often does not know how to access the computer. The IT people have the expertise to find the information, but do not know how to investigate the violation.

Second, in the law enforcement realm, officers tend to shy away from investigations that deal with computers because they do not understand how to work a computer crime (similar to the IT people), or how to get into the computer.

The security management technology track remedies both concerns. Knowing this information allows the security professionals to work closely with their IT counterparts, and the law enforcement official to move forward confidently in cyber crime investigations.

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