Fact Sheet

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Sean Kearns
Media Relations Director
(323) 343-3050
Margie Low
Public Affairs Specialist
(323) 343-3047



Cal State L.A. 
Office of Public Affairs 
(323) 343-3050 
Fax: (323) 343-6405

Criminal Justice, Criminalistics
Programs at Cal State L.A.

The School of Criminal Justice and Criminalistics
The School of Criminal Justice and Criminalistics, housed within the College of Health and Human Services, offers programs that prepare students for successful positions in law enforcement, corrections, criminal justice planning and/or law. The curriculum provides intensive study in criminal justice theory, research methodology and data analysis, criminal law, organizational functioning, program planning and criminalistics. The School enhances students’ understanding of key criminal, legal, and scientific issues affecting contemporary urban society and promotes their respect for racial, ethnic, cultural and gender diversity.

Master of Science degree in Criminal Justice
Established in 1964, the M.S. degree program in Criminal Justice at Cal State L.A. was one of the first in the nation. Its graduates frequently head on to major forensic laboratories, medical schools and doctoral programs. More than 80 percent of the students in the program are female. The program offers options in administration and forensic mental health.

Master of Science degree in Criminalistics
The program leading to the Master of Science degree in Criminalistics provides advanced, discipline-specific knowledge including practical and technical training in crime laboratory skills, with special emphasis on development of skilled experts to function in a variety of scientific disciplines. It is considered among the best forensic science programs in the country.

Bachelor of Science degree in Criminal Justice
More than 50 years ago, Cal State L.A. began offering courses in what was called “police science.” The undergraduate program is built upon preparation in chemistry and provides technical training in crime laboratory skills. It develops skilled experts able to function in a variety of scientific fields, many of whom pursue further study in graduate and professional schools. About 58 percent of the majors in criminal justice are female. Two-thirds of the criminal justice majors at Cal State L.A. are Latino (compared to roughly half for the campus as a whole).

Hertzberg-Davis Forensic Science Center
Dedicated May 11, 2007, the center, which serves as the Los Angeles regional crime laboratory, was established through a joint-partners collaboration among California State University, Los Angeles, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department and the Los Angeles Police Department. The facility also includes classrooms and teaching laboratories, opportunities for research and student internships, employment networks and public education programs.

California Forensic Science Institute
The California Forensic Science Institute (CFSI) is the academic, in-service training, applied research, and public education arm of the Los Angeles Regional Crime Laboratory. It serves as a vital resource for law enforcement and an advocate for the interests of public safety. CSFI seeks to bridge the gap between scientific advancements and their effective use in crime laboratories.

Administrative leadership
Beatrice Yorker - Dean, College of Health and Human Services
(323) 343-4600 byorker@calstatela.edu
Dr. Yorker is an expert on violence prevention and child abuse, including Munchausen’s Syndrome by Proxy and forensic, gerontological, and psychiatric nursing. She consults internationally regarding her research on serial murder by healthcare providers.

Joseph Peterson - Director, School of Criminal Justice and Criminalistics
(323) 343-4610 jpeters@calstatela.edu
Dr. Peterson specializes in criminalistics and forensic science. His research has examined the evolution of forensic science over the past 30 years. He has also explored the uses and effects of scientific evidence at key decision points in the judicial process (arrest, charging, etc.).

Rose Ochi - Executive Director, California Forensic Science Institute
(323) 343-4879 rochi@cslanet.calstatela.edu
Formerly a member of the Los Angeles Police Commission, Ms. Ochi has served as a White House appointee and with U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ); associate director of the White House Drug Policy Office; and executive director of the City of Los Angeles Criminal Justice Planning Office.

Additional Faculty Experts
Deborah R. Baskin - Professor of Criminal Justice
Expert on gender and crime, drug markets and the community context, mental health needs of women in the criminal justice system. Fluent in Spanish. (323) 343-4613 dbaskin@calstatela.edu

Mitchell L. Eisen - Professor of Psychology
Expert in false memories and wrongful convictions; effects of maltreatment and trauma on children and adults; eye-witness memory suggestibility; forensic interviewing of children and hypnosis. (323) 343-5006 meisen@calstatela.edu

Denise Herz - Associate Professor of Criminal Justice
Expert on research and practice in juvenile justice, substance abuse, mental health, crime and justice system policy. (323) 343-4624 dherz@calstatela.edu

Donald James Johnson - Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice and Criminalistics
Expert on crime-scene investigation and reconstruction (homicides and sexual assaults), forensic biology, and new technologies. (323) 343-4620 djohnso5@calstatela.edu

Katherine Roberts - Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice
Expert on DNA analysis, serology, trace evidence, and forensic microscopy. Directs graduate criminalistics program at CSULA. Fluent in Welsh. (323) 343-4625 kroberts@calstatela.edu

Ira Sommers - Professor of Criminal Justice
Expert on women, crime and forensic mental health; violence and substance abuse. Co-published (with Baskin) book Casualties of Community Disorder. (323) 343-3424 isommer@calstatela.edu

Prominent Cal State L.A. alumni in law enforcement and criminal justice
* Leroy D. Baca - L.A. County Sheriff
* Michael Brown - Commissioner, California Highway Patrol
* Steven Cooley - L.A. County District Attorney
* Elizabeth Devine - co-executive producer of CSI: Miami; former Chief Criminalist for L.A. County Sheriff’s Department
* William Bamattre – L.A. City Fire Chief
* Joseph Wambaugh – best-selling author of “Hollywood Station,” “The Onion Field”; former LAPD officer (bachelor’s and master’s degrees in English)


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