FSU College of Criminology and Criminal Justice launches new institute

The Florida State University College of Criminology & Criminal Justice has established a new institute seeking to bridge the gap between criminological scholarship, policing, and the use of technology.

The Policing, Security Technology, and Private Security Research & Policy Institute is part of the College’s Center for Criminology and Public Policy Research. The institute will partner with police, the private sector and other agencies to conduct research and inform law enforcement policy with evidence-based practices that engage the community, increase public safety, and secure government and private assets. 

“Creating and maintaining safe communities is not just the responsibility of the police,” said Thomas Blomberg, dean of the College of Criminology and Criminal Justice. “It requires wide-ranging partnerships with the community, private sector and other governmental entities to develop effective evidence-based policies and practices. We believe the institute is in a unique position to contribute to re-imagining public safety in this ever-changing environment.”  

Brian and Darrel Stephens have been appointed to lead the institute. 

Brian Stephens is the CEO of BMS Security Solutions, which provides advisory and security services to companies, institutions and individuals. He also served as the former Chief Security Officer at Bank of America and held a number of positions at the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. 

Darrel Stephens has had a distinguished career in law enforcement, serving as chief of Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department and the St. Petersburg Police Department and executive director of both the Police Executive Research Forum and the Major Cities Chiefs Association. He also has served as an expert consultant on police leadership, management and the use of research in police policy and practices. 

“Darrel and I are excited about the potential of the institute,” said Brian Stephens. “This is a unique opportunity to be a part of a vision that brings private security and policing together to develop evidence-based solutions to the safety and security challenges of today and the future.” 

The institute also plans to offer executive leadership education to law enforcement professionals at all stages of their careers who must confront the issues of implementing evidence-based practices, partnering with researchers and community leaders, serving diverse political environments, and utilizing rapidly changing technology. 

By doing so, the institute hopes to further address the need to keep field practitioners abreast of evidence-based research and use research to inform policy decisions at the local, state and national levels.