Gangfighters Weblog

March 10, 2012

Security Administration in the classroom: More challenging when it’s not as sexy as policing.

Submitted to Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences conference proceedings (March 2012)

Abstract: Gabbidon examined perceptions of criminal justice students in a security administration class, asking reasons for taking the course, knowledge regarding the security field, their career objective, and whether they considered working in the security field. He later asked whether their interest in working in the security field had decreased, increased, or remained the same, whether their respect for the field decreased, increased, or remained the same, and how they would rate the course in comparison to other criminal justice courses they had taken. This research was replicated to determine differences in perceptions of security administration by current criminal justice students.

Keywords: private security, security administration, homeland security education, criminal justice courses, teaching security

This research was inspired by Gabbidon (2002) responding to Swart (2000) who believed he knew why college-level security courses don’t fly.  Gabbidon (2002) noted that when criminal justice emerged as a discipline in the 1960s, security was left out because it was viewed more under the purview of the business world.  Consequently, he said, the lack of interest was a direct result of this historical oversight.  Swart suggested that students have negative perceptions of the security field and, thus, lack interest in the profession. Swart also suggested that business programs in higher education don’t see security courses as a fit and therefore ignore them (2000, p. 38). Further, Swart believed that student perceptions of the field serve as a barrier to enrolling in security courses. To rectify these problems, Swart proposed that criminal justice should be restructured as justice studies to be more inclusive of security courses (2000, p. 39).
The findings show how these students initially felt about the security profession and how taking the course transformed their perspective. Gabbidon (2002) suggested that the key to getting students interested in the security profession was getting them into the classroom.  To accomplish this, a change in thought process may be required.  Criminal justice faculty and administrators must be educated to the vastness of the profession, as well as the opportunities for students (Gabbidon, 2002). With billions annually being spent on private security, criminal justice programs should be spotlighting these courses (Gabbidon, 2002).  The current state of the economy and relatively high unemployment rate, including those seeking public sector jobs like those in the criminal justice profession may increase the motivation of criminal justice students to consider private security as an alternative profession.

Gabbidon, S.L. (2002). Teaching Security Administration in Criminal Justice Programs:
            Getting them in the Classroom is the Key. Journal of Security Administration, 25(1):17-21.
Swart, S. L. (2000). Security between two worlds: Why college-level security courses don’t fly. Journal of Security Administration, 23(1): 37-48.


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