Redefining the Classroom

It is the mission of the criminal justice/fire science program faculty and staff to provide an atmosphere where active learning may occur, to provide students with the highest quality educational experience, to continue to support the “professional model” as currently utilized, to become appropriate role models for students, to support the educational program by acquiring the appropriate equipment and supplies, to fulfill the advising role, and to assess the academic outcomes of the program.


Sgt. Marty R. Singleton ('07)
Provincial Liaison Team-North West Region

"I owe a lot of my success in my career to the time I spent in Sault Ste. Marie and LSSU."

-Blue Line Magazine, April 2014
Download Article (pdf)

Program Objectives

  • Provide students with a broad-based, liberal education.
  • Provide students with the skills necessary to perform as twenty-first century criminal justice practitioners.
  • Assist students with their development of a set of professional ethics.
  • Assist students in the development of their critical thinking skills.
  • Assist students with the development of their writing skills.
  • Provide an educational atmosphere where active learning may occur.
  • Encourage life long learning.
  • Assess the educational outcomes of the program.

The criminal justice and fire science programs allow you a unique opportunity to receive state certification in a number of areas. You may obtain Firefighter I and II Michigan certifiability, Wildland Firefighting certification (USFS S130, S190, and I220), and certifiability through the Michigan Commission on Law Enforcement Standards (MCOLES).

The following certificates may also be awarded: the Michigan Corrections Officer Certificate, Incident Command System, Hazardous Material Awareness Level, Hazardous Material Operations Level, and the 40 hour Emergency Response Technician - HAZWOPER (29CFR 1910.120).


Fire science students learn the power of positive pressure

Lake Superior State University fire science students (from left) Christian Nagelvoort, Craig Suheski, and Jacob Herter queue a hose line into a practice building during an exercise at LSSU's fire practice grounds in Sault Ste. Marie, Mich., on Sept. 24. Rescue Resources LLC of Grand Rapids provided training on how approach fires that tend to be very fluid, superheated, and explosive. Fire science students and faculty were joined by the Sault Ste. Marie city fire department for all day training. Crews practiced "positive pressure attack" techniques that blow heat out windows and allow firefighters to walk into a fire without taking a beating. The method also increases safety for trapped people. The Sault fire department — along with LSSU fire science faculty Terry Heyns and Roger Land — chipped in to help cover Rescue Resources' visit. Nagelvoort, Suheski, and Herter are all seniors from, respectively, Holland, Crystal Falls, and Ann Arbor, Mich.

Dr. Frank Tridico Has Book Published on Hate Crimes

Dr. Frank Tridico's book Hate Crimes was released March 01, 2015.

The book explores the history of racism, xenophobia, hate crimes, and extremism from a criminal justice perspective. It examines it from law enforcement, sociological, theoretical, political and legal contexts. It then examines the formation and sustenance of organized far right groups and militias, and how the State addresses them. Global terrorism is also examined within the context of bias motivation, and as an emergent transnational threat.

In 1999, Dr. Tridico helped create one of the earliest Hate Crimes courses in the country at Wayne State University. It combined his primary field research with hate crime legislation and legal cases. Dr. Tridico is recognized as one of the leading researchers in hate crimes and far right organizations, having conducted research since 1993.

Hate Crimes is Frank Tridico's seventh book. His upcoming works include Law and Social Order, 2nd Edition (2016), The Science of Social Research (2016), Global Terrorism (2017) and Criminal Law (2018).

New Weekly Radio Program Focuses on Law and Criminal Justice Issues

Criminal Justice Major Greg Reinert at the helm with Dr. Aaron Westrick

LSSU's flagship radio station FM90.1 has attained its first ever weekly hour long talk program which focuses on law and criminal justice issues.

Criminal Justice Professor Dr. Aaron Westrick hosts the program with co- host and program engineer Greg Reinert. Dr. Frank Tridico, is also a regular co-host every two weeks.

The program, called COPDOCS is heard locally and crosses over into Canada within a limited radius, and is quickly becoming known as a chic, intellectually stimulating exchange of ideas adding some color to LSSU.

The program ended its first season on Dec 08, 2014 and will debut its next season in early January. The program runs Monday evenings from 8-9 pm. Topics so far have included issues related to sexual assault awareness, crime scene investigation, the Michael Brown and Eric Garner deaths that sparked public protests in the US, the Second Amendment and national security. Regular guests have included Dr. Michael Everett and Dr. Jude Rariden. The new season will have guests from LSSU and the community.

Bravery in the Line of Duty

Photo by Scott Brand, Sault Evening News

Sault Ste. Marie Police Sgt. Supervisor Herb Henderson and Officer Phil Donnay recently received commendations from the police department for bravery in the line of duty after the two were involved in a dangerous situation in the city earlier this year. The two convinced a person who was threatening to attempt suicide to drop the handgun with which he was armed.

The two were among five LSSU alumni members of the police department who received commendations on Dec. 1, 2014 at a Sault Ste. Marie City Commission meeting.

The two are pictured here, Henderson on left and Donnay on right, with Sault Ste. Marie Police Chief John Riley, who presented the commendations at the Dec. 1 Sault Ste. Marie City Commission meeting.

Henderson, a 1994 graduate of LSSU, relied on his training and years of experience to respond to the situation. Besides being a full-time police officer, he is Associate Professor in the School of Criminal Justice, Fire Science & EMS who received the LSSU Distinguished Teaching Award this year. One of his former courses, Crisis Intervention, provided a foundation for his work in situations such as the one that earned this commendation. Henderson has taught Crisis Intervention, and teaches several other LSSU courses.

Henderson was one of Officer Donnay''s instructors when Donnay was in LSSU's Michigan Commission on Law Enforcement Standards police academy, shortly before he became a police officer. Donnay, a 1997 LSSU graduate, joined the Sault Ste. Marie Police Dept. within the past year after serving many years with the Bay Mills Tribal Police.

Faculty Profiles

Dr. Paige Gordier

Dean of Arts, Letters, Social Sciences & Emergency Services

Dr. Paige Gordier is a graduate of LSSU with a degree in Criminal Justice - Law Enforcement. She went on to graduate school in Texas where she earned a Masters degree in Criminology and Corrections and a Ph.D. in Criminal Justice from Sam Houston State University. In her doctoral program she specialized in research methods and statistics.

Dr. Gordier's current research is related to jury selection in capital murder trials which occurred between 1850 and 1900. Her other research areas include inmate gangs, violence in prison and student success in non-traditional fields.

This year is Dr. Gordier's 21st year at LSSU. She started as an assistant professor in criminal justice and is currently the Dean of Arts, Letters, Social Sciences & Emergency Services. Dr. Gordier was originally hired to teach research methods, statistics and corrections classes but has also taught numerous other criminal justice courses, university seminar courses and even the occasional algebra course.

1) What changes have occurred specific to the School of CJ, Fire Science & EMS since you first arrived here?

When I first arrived at LSSU the faculty was interested in making the program more academically demanding. We had a strong reputation for providing outstanding training for future practitioners but the goal was to combine that aspect of the program with a more academically sound foundation. New courses were developed to provide students with opportunities to conduct their own research, learn more about issues related to their fields, and prepare for graduate school.

2) What direction would you like to see the School go in the next five years?

In the next five years I see the School continue to grow and to increase the number of students going on to graduate school. The school has made some recent changes to help increase enrollment and provide outstanding credentials for the graduates of the program.

The Homeland Security degree emphasis is very popular as it is well suited for students interested in working for the federal government. The distance programs available in both fire science and criminal justice provide an opportunity for active practitioners to be able to complete their degrees. The School has done well preparing for the future needs of the students.

The school is providing a strong academic foundation for students who are interested in continuing their education beyond the bachelor's level. New upper level courses and the emphasis on original research in the capstone courses are helping prepare students for graduate school. Although many undergraduate students do not believe they will attend graduate school, to become upper level administrators in most criminal justice and fire science areas they will need masters degrees in the future.

3) How have your research/ research interests influenced your approach to teaching?

My research interests always seem to become part of the classes I teach. When teaching the research methods course this was easy to incorporate into the class as I could use examples from my experience in data collection, research design and statistical to help explain concepts.

This semester I am teaching an introduction to corrections course and I have been able to incorporate several topics from projects I have worked on into the discussions (prison boot camps, the history of the death penalty and inmate gangs). I believe it helps the students to see that there are many uses for applied research in their fields.

4) How have your responsibilities changed since becoming Dean?

My focus areas have remained similar but the level of responsibility has changed since I became a dean. I chaired the School for ten years and really tried to focus on service to the students through academic advising and insuring that the graduate rates were high. My other focus was on program development and expanding articulation agreements that existed between our programs and other institutions.

The focus I have now must relate to the entire college and all of the degree programs. Therefore I can still work on expanding programs and growing enrollment but now have to do so by providing support to the faculty for all the programs in the college (over 30 bachelors' degrees, 15 associate degrees and almost 30 minors). The faculty are really the people who bring students to campus and provide the outstanding experiences which students receive at the university.

5) How do you think our program benefits students? What are some of the unique characteristics that differentiate us or provide us a better alternative to students in comparison to other institutions?

The Lake State programs in criminal justice, fire science and paramedic are unique in that they provide an outstanding academic program combined with the skills necessary for students to obtain employment and excel in their careers.

Most institutions which provide similar training opportunities are community colleges. Therefore the students may obtain their certifications but at best they will have a certificate or an associates' degree. There are very few programs where you can get hands on training in emergency medicine, firefighting and criminal investigation at the same time you are earning a bachelor's degree.

The faculty of the School differentiates our program from other institutions. All have experience in the field and advanced academic degrees. They provide students good preparation for their future careers.

6) What makes for a good educator?

I believe a good educator must be focused on student learning. The faculty member must understand that there are many different learning styles and make an effort to reach all of the students. A good educator must have good listening skills and always make time for students who need them. A good educator must always be learning themselves and advancing their skills in the classroom as well as in their discipline.

7) How can students prepare to be successful during their academic careers here?

I strongly believe in the expression "you get out of it what you put in." Students can attend class and do the bare minimum and probably still graduate. They will have learned little and their degree will have little value to them.

If students work hard to get as much out of their program as they can, they will excel. Our strongest students are focused on doing well in classes and usually have a lot of other activities to keep them engaged both on and off campus.

I really admire the students who know early in their academic career that they need to incorporate positive student life experiences as well as strong academic performance to best prepare for their careers.

Roger Land

Assistant Professor, Fire Science

Professor Roger Land attained a B.S. in Sociology from Brigham Young University and an M.S. in Management/Manpower Planning from the University of Utah. He has served as Assistant Professor of Fire Science for the School of CJ/FS/EMS from 1996 to present.

Professor Land's field experience is expansive, and shows a diversified portfolio of expertise. From 1954-57 he served as a drafsman for North American Aviation in California and for the Water and Engineering Departments in Provo, Utah from 1969-72.

He served as a fire fighter in the City of Compton from 1957-65 and with the Los Angeles County Fire Department from 1965-69. Mr. Land held a military commitment with the United States Army from 1959-61 where he received an Honorable Discharge.

In 1974, Mr. Land served as State Director of Fire Fighter Training for Utah. He served as Chief for the Provo County Fire Department from 1974-76. He was also the Education and Training Specialist for the National Fire Academy from 1976-77.

Mr. Land was an Instructor of Fire Science for Provo Technical College in Weber County, Utah, Washington Technical Institute in Washington, DC, as well as Santa Ana Community College, West Los Angeles College, Rio Hondo College and Pepperdine College.

From 1978 to 1983, Mr. Land held the position of Coordinator (Assistant Chief) for the State of California, Fire/Rescue Division, Office of Emergency Services, Operations Coordination Center in Riverside, CA. He then advanced to Senior Coordinator (Deputy Chief), responsible for administration of southern section (12 counties) of the Fire/Rescue Division.

From July 1983 to September 1983, Mr. Land served as Administrative Officer (Assistant Chief) for Arabian Bechtel Company Limited , the Industrial Security Department, Jubail Al-Sinaiyah in the the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. He was later promoted to Group Manager (Chief).

From 1985 to 1987, Mr. Land served as Fire Marshal/Safety Specialist for Bechtel Construction, Inc., Intermountain Power Project in Delta, UT. From 1989 to 1992, he held the position of Supervisor for Centery Power Corporation, Springerville Generating Station, in Springerville, AZ.

In September 1992, he returned to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to hold the position of Director, Fire Protection Sercies (Chief) for Saudi Arabian Parsons Limited.

1) While overseas, what experiences were instrumental in shaping your views?

I went to Saudi Arabia twice, once for two years and again for nearly three years, with a 10 year period between the two assignments. I was naive and enthusiastic the first time and enlightened and pragmatic the second time. My advice boils down to research your assignment, move slowly, and act with tact and diplomacy.

2) What led you to the fire science field?

My father was a firefighter and he suggested that I take the entrance exam for the local fire department. I did, was hired and my brother did the same thing five years later. I served in various roles within the fire service for the next 40 years and as I turned into the cul-de-sac of life and my senior years came into view, I sent resumes out to every college or university I could find and Lake Superior State University responded.

During the 40 years of experience gathering I developed a love of teaching so I put the two together and functioned in that role for the better part of my adult life. I learned something just in time: do what you enjoy. Coming to LSSU was the best decision I ever made; I just wish I would have done it sooner.

3) What changes have occurred specific to the School of CJ/FS/EMS since you first arrived here?

Primarily growth: growth without appropriate reaction to deal with the influx of students and resulting equipment. There was an instant need to provided adequate space plus growing shortages of resources. The situation has been dealt with a temporary fashion but becomes more and more taxing.

Primarily growth: growth without appropriate reaction to deal with the influx of students and resulting equipment. There was an instant need to provided adequate space plus growing shortages of resources. The situation has been dealt with a temporary fashion but becomes more and more taxing.

We function under the concept of the "Professional Model" as outlined in the mission statement of our School. In doing so, we provide a combination of classroom and 'hands on' learning designed to prepare the student in the direction of leadership in the fire service. Our program falls between a fully academic degree and an academy training service.

5) What direction would you like to see the Fire Science program take in the next five years?

Accepting that the School of Criminal Justice, Fire Science and EMS are equipment driven programs is of critical importance. As such, there is a need for storage space, maintenance costs and replacement needs.

Accepting that the School of Criminal Justice, Fire Science and EMS are equipment driven programs is of critical importance. As such, there is a need for storage space, maintenance costs and replacement needs.

6) What makes for a good educator?

Generally speaking and in my opinion, a strong grasp of the subject matter, empathy, and a lot of patience with a touch of humor is required to be an effective educator. One should be able to respond to questions such as, "will that be on the exam" and "how long do I need to know that."

There are benefits that come with the job, that remain unnoticed. If one is attuned for the signs, a fleeting moment of joy can follow a student's painful, furrowed brow expression with a wide eyed look of understanding as a concept suddenly makes sense to them.

7) How can students prepare to be successful in both academia and the field?

Hard work, desire, and focus are essential preparations for success. Students should also seek to learn not just getting by. They will understand the secret when their "maturity switch" clicks on.

Herb Henderson

Associate Professor, Criminal Justice

Professor Herb Henderson is presently serving as an Associate Professor of Criminal Justice at LSSU. He also serves as the Director of both the Michigan Commission on Law Enforcement Standards (MCOLES) and the Michigan Department of Corrections (MDOC) for LSSU. He is also the Firearms Range Coordinator. Professor Henderson is also an active Command Sergeant for the City of Sault Ste. Marie Police Department where he commands a full platoon of officers, as well as, four crime scene evidence technicians.

He has over 22 years experience in the field of law enforcement and crime scene processing, having served as patrol officer, shift supervisor, departmental training instructor, evidence technician, advanced crime scene technician, and command sergeant.

He is a graduate of Lake Superior State University, Northern Michigan University, and Postgraduate of Northcentral University. His research includes forensic science areas of morphology, taphonomy, blood spatter recognition and reconstruction of violent crime scenes and accidents, homeland security areas of critical infrastructure protection, transportation network security innovations and the threats to the transportation network, domestic and international terrorism.

Professor Henderson has presented professional papers nationally and internationally at the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences, the Midwest Criminal Justice Association, and Police Officer Labor Counsel.

In addition to criminal justice related courses at the university level, Henderson has taught courses for pre-k- 12 public schools employees in areas of child abuse recognition and mandatory reporting. He has presented for multiple local and regional groups in the areas of cybercrimes awareness, date rape awareness, and understanding terrorism signs and responses for citizens. He has also provided instruction to private security companies in electronic surveillance, perimeter security, explosive device identification and other areas.

Henderson is a certified instructor for the Michigan Commission on Law Enforcement Standards in all general areas of law enforcement, as well as, response to domestic violence, firearms, forensic interviewing of children, interview and interrogation and use of force. He is a nationally certified and recognized instructor for state, local, tribal, and federal law enforcement agencies in anti-terrorism awareness, response, and mitigation.

He has successfully completed numerous train-the-trainer courses provided by the Federal Law He has successfully completed numerous train-the-trainer courses provided by the Federal Law

Professor Henderson responds to all levels of criminal and accidental incidents in the City of Sault Ste. Marie and Chippewa County including homicides, suicides, sudden infant death scenes and other emergency responses.

Professor Henderson is a book reviewer for Jones and Bartlett and McGraw-Hill publishing. He is a committee member for several committees across campus at LSSU including vice-chair of the general education committee, Faculty Teaching Center, and University Restructuring Committee.

Professor Henderson is a professional member of the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences, American Academy of Forensic Science, International Association of Chiefs of Police, International Association of Identification, Michigan Association of Public Employee Retirement System- Fiduciary, and the Midwest Criminal Justice Association.

Professor Henderson is the Chairman of the Sault Ste. Marie Police and Fire Pension system. He has served the community in several positions such as the coordinator of the John Weir Memorial Golf Scramble which funds LSSU's John Weir Scholarship, the former President of the Rudyard Area School board, and former trustee and he served 13 years as the law enforcement liaison officer for the Northern International Crime Stoppers.

Henderson has been involved in coaching baseball and softball for the Sault Area Little league, coaching hockey for the Soo Michigan Hockey Association, and coaching soccer for the Sault Soccer Association. He has been a team captain and involved in the American Cancer Society in both Chippewa County and here at LSSU since 1997.

1) What led you to the Criminal Justice field?

As a young child I saw many instances of childhood crime and childhood victims most instances revolving around alcohol. My mother worked in the prosecuting attorney's office and for the former Family Independence Agency currently the Department of Health and Human Services. My mother's profession led to very heavy positive contacts with the judges, prosecutors, and law enforcement personnel in the region.

These positive role models drove me to the field of criminal justice with a goal of spreading awareness and response for children in the criminal justice system.

2) What changes have occurred to the School of CJ/FS/EMS since you first arrived here?

In the 20 years that I have instructed at LSSU for the School of Criminal Justice, Fire Science and EMS I have seen several administrative changes, re- organizations and re re-organizations.

The School has always stayed solid in student count 400 to 488 students and quality of students, however we have been moved around in multiple colleges by those re-organizations. The students' ability to utilize computers and software systems in the past 20 years has improved greatly. However, with the sudden and extreme advancement in technology there has been an observable human cost.

Today, many students come to the university with a lower degree of personal communication skills and skewed views on critical thinking. Many students just want everything explained in detail step by step so there is no room for error or adjustment, which takes the students critical thinking skills out of their education. It is not a decline in student quality or ability to learn but a societal change driven by technology.

Fortunately, we have students that are hard working and faculty that put in great effort to help our students achieve.

3) How do you think the CJ program benefits students? What are some of the unique characteristics that differentiate us to other institutions?

Our program is very unique compared to our in-state and out-of-state "competitors." I have summarized our educational method in the School simply by saying "we tell our students about a topic, we show our students about the topic, and we make our students do/complete the task."

This reinforcement helps our students learn and gain lifelong knowledge not just memorize a topic for short term recovery. Therefore, we focus on theoretical instruction as a base of knowledge with increased practical applications with in class small group exercises and activities and then individual specific work and achievement in the upper level courses.

Our students utilize multiple types of lab and professional equipment that is only available to graduate students at other universities. This ties into the marketability of our graduates at all levels of the criminal justice field across the nation and internationally.

Our small class sizes allow greater interaction between the students and faculty building the support network which improves our students' ability to achieve. This is a very important benefit for our students as we educate the future leaders of the fields of CJ/FS/EMS.

4) What direction would you like to see the Criminal Justice program take in the next five years?

Continue to emphasize high quality instruction to drive a high quality broad based education. Continue to improve our programs to not just stay current but always on the cutting edge of the field of criminal justice. Increase the problem based learning model utilized in the classroom developing greater critical thinking and improving communication skills in all mediums.

These activities benefit our graduates as they are always current when they go out into the job market and have a better developed set of skills for interviews. Continue to lobby for appropriations of funds to design and build a facility/building for the School of CJ/FS/EMS.

5) How vital is Criminal Justice to issues of national security?

The field of CJ encompassing all levels of public and private sectors are the guardians of our nation. We rely more today than ever on partnerships between public and private entities to help keep our nation safe from all threats not just a terrorist threat but accidental and environmental threats.

It is through the cooperation between agencies such as law enforcement (local, state, and federal), fire departments (municipal and townships), emergency medicine, emergency management (municipal, county, state and federal), environmental scientists, public health, public works, and private entities such as manufacturing and industrial companies, security companies, power companies, small businesses, and citizen groups that we can achieve in a common goal of safety and security for our nation and all of its citizens.