SUNY Canton plans justice facilities

A renovated Dana Hall on the SUNY Canton campus will host the Center for Criminal Justice, Intelligence and Cybersecurity.

CANTON — All things justice will be under one umbrella at SUNY Canton this fall with the creation of the new Center for Criminal Justice, Intelligence and Cybersecurity.

The center includes the college’s computer-focused cybersecurity program and the fully-online Emergency Management program.

The college has committed $10 million over five years to establish the center in Dana Hall, which is currently under renovation and slated to go back online in fall 2020, according to a release. Part of the investment will fund several brand-new facilities, including a Criminal Investigation laboratory, a crime scene staging room, and a $500,000 state-of-the-art cybersecurity computer laboratory in Nevaldine Hall.

Elizabeth A. Brown, SUNY Canton’s Criminal Justice Department chair, will be the director of the center. She is a former latent print examiner for the Onondaga County Center for Forensic Sciences and also worked as a forensic scientist for the Indiana State Police laboratory. She has won multiple awards during her tenure at SUNY Canton and published a laboratory textbook on forensic investigations.

“I’ve been here for 11½ years now and when I started people thought the criminal justice department was producing the traditional police officer and that was a giant focus of our program and that was the intent of our graduates,” Ms. Brown said. “Over the last 11½ years now, state government, federal government have realigned and now law enforcement doesn’t necessarily mean you are the gun/badge-wearing, sworn police officer.

Students can now focus on forensics and becoming civilian crime-scene technicians.

With technology expanding in law enforcement through intelligence and crime analysis, the incorporation of drones, and the need for cybersecurity in private security and corporations, Ms. Brown said multiple disciplines are involved with investigating some form of a crime.

The Criminal Justice Center is replacing the Criminal Justice Department and then aligning additional, similar programs under it.

Under the school’s original Criminal Justice Department, students could receive a Bachelor of Technology in Criminal Investigation, Criminal Justice: Law Enforcement Leadership and Homeland Security, and an Associate of Applied Science in Criminal Justice.

Previously the Bachelor of Science in Emergency Management fell under the school of Business and Liberal Arts and the Bachelor of Science in Cybersecurity fell under the Canino School of Engineering and Technology.

Now, all those courses will be aligned with the St. Lawrence County-David Sullivan Law Enforcement Academy and the SUNY Canton Corrections Academy, which will also operate out of the center.

“One of the largest benefits of having all those degrees under one house now is that we can ladder,” Ms. Brown said. “So in four years you can achieve your associate’s degree and achieve your bachelor’s degree, but what makes it even more unique is you can do an internship at the academy and get pre-certification in law enforcement, or you can use some of your general electives and do the corrections academy and become pre-certified in corrections and you can do all of that in four years.”

No longer is it about just getting a two- or four-year degree, the director said. Now it is about what else students can get within four years that will help them stand out in the employment marketplace.

The center will initially house six academic programs and serve more than 500 students. There are currently more than 10 full-time faculty members with extensive professional experience who teach in these well-established programs. The college also plans to add future degrees in Forensic Criminology and Crime Analysis.

“You can get corrections precertification and law-enforcement precertification. You can do a minor. You can broaden your horizons in homeland and get a minor in cyber, and that makes it more marketable now and it expands your job pool,” Ms. Brown said. “I think that is the biggest thing, aligning everything.”

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