Criminal Justice and Human Security students gain critical perspective

Dr. Kadir Akyuz offers real-life lessons from perilous challenges

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Together with the children of Gbarnga, Liberia.

It is one thing to teach about the challenges of human security and criminology, but Dr. Kadir Akyuz has lived it, facing life or death situations as a United Nations Peacekeeper.

As a College of Public and Internal Affairs Criminal Justice and Human Security professor for the last two years, Dr. Akyuz brings his real-world experience to every class he teaches. “Students need to recognize that working in law enforcement demands absolute patience and professionalism. So I take them behind-the-scenes, detailing my operations in war torn countries and missions where I was put in dangerous and stressful situations,” he said.

In front of the Gbarnga Police Station, Liberia.
During the weekly security meeting in Gbarnga, with both uniformed and civilian staff of UNMIL.
Together with the children of Gbarnga, Liberia.
Liberian National Police (LNP) candidates, in front of a local police station.
On a hand-made wooden bridge together with LNP criminal investigation officers.
Together with high school students in Gbarnga.
Liberian fishers on the beach. Fish and rice are the main staple food in Liberia.
Nearly two-thirds of West Africa's rainforests are in Liberia.
Together with LNP officers in a local police station.
During the handling of a tire problem (Turkish, American, German and Liberian police officers).
Visiting a daycare center in Monrovia, Liberia.
After a dinner with the police officers from the Turkish, American and German Police Contingents.
In front of the Gbarnga Police Station, Liberia.

Working as a United Nations Police (UNPOL) officer, Dr. Akyuz executed risky assignments in Kosovo in 2003 and in Liberia in 2006. In Kosovo, he worked an executive mission for the Missing Persons Unit, later known as the War Crimes Unit. There, he was charged with identifying the bodies of those massacred during the Kosovo civil war and submitting their remains to families along with identification process results. In Liberia, he worked an advisory mission with local police, helping with restoration efforts from a country devastated by a ruthless 14-year civil war.

When Dr. Akyuz speaks, “I can imagine myself in his shoes,” said Criminal Justice and Human Security major Troy S. Hylton, a freshman. “His lectures are filled with precise detail of the life of a law enforcement agent. His experience gives us great insights into what it takes to work in the criminal justice system.”

Dr. Akyuz stresses the importance of being trained to cope with challenges, something he learned from his years as a UNPOL officer. “It is crucially important for a police officer to control his temper especially when dealing with heated situations. It is just a matter of seconds before an angry crowd can become out of control,” he explained. This advice became evermore apparent when he was working in war-stricken Liberia in the village of Suakoko in Gbarngna.

“This incident proved to me once again that even in the most difficult situations, police officers should not abandon patience and professionalism to save lives.” Dr. Kadir Akyuz on speaking of UNPOL intervention in Liberia
During a property theft incident, his UNPOL unit believed the situation was under control, so did not request additional police backup. “But when we arrived at the crime scene, villagers had encircled the three suspects and some were threatening to kill them. Since mob violence was so prevalent in Liberia we had concerns about the risk of public lynch.” Dr. Akyuz’s unit was not armed but many of the villagers were carrying axes. And there was no power so they could barely see each other. “As we attempted to arrest the suspects, all of a sudden, villagers attacked and began to beat them. Together with my Turkish and Swedish colleagues, we made a great effort to pacify the villagers to protect the lives of the suspects.” Fortunately as a result of this patient and cautious intervention, the villagers settled down and nobody was seriously injured.

The College of Public and International Affairs (CPIA) knows the value and importance of bringing real-world professionals to the classroom. Criminal Justice and Human Security Chair William Lay, noted, “Prof. Akyuz brings remarkable experiences to the classroom, including the supervision and training of police not only in his native Turkey, but also with United Nations peacekeeping missions.” CPIA Dean Thomas Ward concurs. “Students want to hear from professionals who’ve been there, they offer invaluable insights.”

About Kadir Akyuz

Dr. Kadir Akyuz earned his Ph.D. in criminal justice from Sam Houston State University. He has 18 years of law enforcement experience with the Turkish National Police. After his graduation from the Turkish National Police Academy in 1997, he was employed in police stations and in homicide, organized crime and cybercrime units. He was recognized by the Turkish Ministry of Interior for taking part in successful police operations.

His research interests focus on terrorism, political violence, juvenile delinquency and policing issues. His articles have appeared in International Criminal Justice Review and Turkish Journal of Sociological Research. He also contributed chapters to several books.

At UB, Dr. Akyuz teaches Introduction to Criminal Justice, Research Methods, Homeland Security and Terrorism, Law Enforcement and Society, and Transnational Crime.

About CPIA’s Criminal Justice and Human Security Department

The College of Public and International Affairs B.A. in Criminal Justice and Human Security degree introduces students to the essential elements of criminal justice and provides the academic preparation needed for careers in criminal justice, crime prevention, and law enforcement in an increasingly global society. Students choose from one of three areas of concentration: Human Security, Comparative Justice and Criminology.