Jeff provides executive leadership and strategic management of the Caruth Police Institute and its growing portfolio of projects. He works closely with the Institute’s Health and Public Safety team to contribute across the Institute providing subject matter expertise advancing our multifaceted law enforcement and first responder projects focused on mental health alternative and augmented emergency response, first responder health and wellness, peer networks, and more.
Jeff began his career with the Irving Police Department in 1986 as a Public Service Officer and worked his way through the ranks serving or supervising in all areas of the department. He was appointed Chief of Police in March of 2017 and led the department until his retirement in January of 2022. During his tenure, Jeff enhanced community outreach through the nationally recognized ShopTalk program, implemented peer support services, formed a mental health response unit, led a departmental reorganization and increased personnel by 12%.
Jeff has received a number of awards and recognitions during his police service: The Golden Apple from the Irving Independent School District, the Law Enforcement Officer of the Year from the NAACP, Civil Servant of the Year from Keep Irving Beautiful, the Trailblazer of the Year Award from the Caruth Police Institute, and the inaugural Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Award from the Irving/Las Colinas Chamber of Commerce.
Jeff holds a master’s degree in Criminal Justice Leadership and Management from Sam Houston State University. He is a graduate of the 252nd Session of the FBI National Academy, the Senior Management Institute for Police, and the Bill Blackwood Law Enforcement Management Institute of Texas Leadership Command College at Sam Houston State University. He served as the Chair for the Caruth Police Institute Executive Advisory Board; was Treasurer on the Police Executive Research Forum (PERF) Board of Directors; was Secretary-Treasurer of the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) Midsize Agencies Division Executive Committee; co-chairs Pathways to Hope Advisory Board, a reentry/diversion program through One CommunityUSA™; and is a board member of Brighter Tomorrows, an organization empowering survivors of domestic and sexual violence.
Senior Academic Program Manager
Dr. Horton has been working in higher education for 15+ years in various capacities. She possesses both teaching and academic advisement experience within the field of Criminal Justice and Criminology. In addition, she has taught a variety of courses within both disciplines. Prior to coming to CPI, Dr. Horton was an Online Lecturer for the Department of Criminal Justice and Criminology at Sam Houston State University. She has also taught at other institutions of Higher Education which include but are not limited to Virginia State University, Texas Southern University, and Central Piedmont Community College.
Dr. Horton has program management experience in Higher Education as well. While employed at Virginia State University as an Assistant Professor, she served as the Program Coordinator for the Bachelor of Science Program in Criminal Justice for 500 + undergraduate students. Some of Dr. Horton’s research interests include but are not limited to public policy, quantitative methods, and criminology. In addition, she is certified to teach and has online teaching experience. Dr. Horton has experience creating both online and digital course content for institutions of Higher Education as well as for Sage Publications.
Dr. Horton earned her Ph.D. in Administration of Justice from Texas Southern University, a Master of Science degree in Criminal Justice from Grambling State University and Bachelor of Science degree in Criminal Justice from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. Lastly, Dr. Horton is a member of Alpha Phi Sigma, the National Criminal Justice Honor Society.
Dustin Schellenger joined the CPI Team on January 14, 2022 as the State Director for the Texas Law Enforcement Peer Network. Dustin has valuable experience working with both the military and Law enforcement in a variety of positions. Prior to joining CPI Dustin was project manager for Dallas Police Department and a retired Gunnery Sergeant in the US Marines. He is passionate about supporting law enforcement and preventing police suicide.
Dustin Served for 20 years as a Military Policeman in the US Marines and has experience in crisis management, Special Reaction Team (SRT) tactics and management, and law enforcement management. He has worked on high risk warrants, hostage situations, drug raids, and lovingly as a regular patrolman. Dustin has served in Iraq as well as 13 other countries and is very familiar with PTSD and what families go through both in law enforcement and military service.
Senior Project Coordinator
Tracie Crosswhite joined the Caruth Police Institute in 2022 and serves as the Senior Project Coordinator. She has been working in higher education for more than twenty years in administrative, budgeting, grant and contract management, and project coordination in Texas and Mississippi.
Tracie has a Bachelor’s in Human Development and Family Studies and Sociology from the University of North Texas.
Director of Research
Dr. Paul Reynolds, PhD is the Director of Research for the Caruth Police Institute and an associate professor for the Department of Criminal Justice and Sociology at UNT Dallas. He is former municipal police officer with Nashville- Davidson Metropolitan Police Department in Nashville, TN and a US Army combat veteran (Iraq, OIF III). Dr. Reynolds earned a Doctorate of Philosophy in criminal justice from Texas State University in Texas, Masters of Science with an emphasis in public service management from Cumberland University in Tennessee and a Bacher of Arts in sociology from Stetston University in Florida.
Dr. Reynolds has led and collaborated on numerous studies and evaluations, both domestic and abroad. His area of research focuses on police organizational work environment and officer work behaviors resulted in numerous published peer-reviewed articles. His work has been been published in many highly respected criminology and criminal justice journals including the Police Journal: Theory, Practice and Principles, Journal of Theoretical & Philosophical Criminology, Criminal Justice, Law and Society (CCJLS), Criminal Justice Review, Police Quarterly, and the American Journal of Criminal Justice, International Journal of Police Science and Management, and the Journal of Criminal Justice and Pop Culture.
Courtney Ripley holds an M.S. in criminal justice from the University of North Texas and has worked for the Caruth Police Institute (CPI) since January 2018. She also works full-time as a financial crime analyst for a consulting company specializing in anti-money laundering and virtual fraud trends. Courtney has built curriculum for a trauma recognition course for police, fire, and EMS where the focus is on the importance of mental wellness and recovering from traumatic experiences faced as a first responder. She has taught the trauma recognition course, along with others such as critical thinking, for CPI. Courtney is using the experience she has gained from those projects in order to help with curriculum creation, facilitating, and overall report writing on project proposals.