PhD in Criminology, Law and Society

Michael Brown, 2019

Michael Brown

Tell us about your thesis/dissertation project. Who did you work with and what did you study?

My dissertation essentially focused on what motivates officers to perform hot spots policing. I attempted to identify factors that might be motivators and those that do not. I worked with two police agencies to collect data on officer perceptions on motivation and hot spots policing. My research led me into a variety of areas on motivation, worker insight, and similar factors. My dissertation chair was Professor Mastrofski, and Professor Koper also served on my committee.

Why did you choose the MA/PhD program at Mason?

I did a considerable amount of research on various criminology graduate programs offering doctoral degrees from across the country. Some of the key factors involved in this research were the faculty, the academic stature within the criminology field, and, of course, the commitment required to achieve a doctorate. My three decades of experience in policing were incredibly helpful in assessing these factors. Clearly, George Mason’s program was one of the best and it was a very easy decision to apply for me to apply for this program. In fact, it was one of the major reasons for me accepting a position with the federal government in Washington DC.

What was the most rewarding experience for you during your time in the program?

I expected to be challenged in the program and was not disappointed. However, there are two unexpected experiences that I found to be very rewarding. One of them was the caliber of student colleagues and having the opportunity to develop lasting relationships with them. The other experience was the level of faculty mentoring that I found at GMU. I came to cherish this faculty interaction and the friendships and collaboration this experience has provided to me.

What are you doing now/what do you plan to do with your degree?

I served as a Senior Executive in the federal government and as Chief of the Alexandria Police Department while attending GMU. I have since retired from these positions. That said, my degree was instrumental in my participation in several key collaborations. For example, I was part of the Bureau of Justice Assistance’s LEMAS evaluation panel and a member of the Transportation Research Board’s Law Enforcement Committee which is part of the National Academies of Sciences. I was also invited to be a Board Member for the National Police Foundation. I have also served as a consultant on numerous policing projects.