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Leigh Anderson, PhD

News Type Alumni News

Originally from St. Louis, Missouri, Dr. Leigh R. Anderson graduated summa cum laude from Howard University with Bachelors of Arts degrees in Administration of Justice and Spanish. She went on to graduate from John Jay College of Criminal Justice’s Masters of Public Administration-Inspector General Program, and then obtained a PhD in Public Policy and Management from The John Glenn College of Public Affairs. In addition, Anderson is a Certified Inspector General Auditor (CIGA), a Certified Inspector General Inspector/Evaluator (CIGE) and a Certified Homicide Investigator.

Anderson’s work lies at the intersection of theory and practice. She is an assistant professor in the Department of Criminal Justice, Political Science and Philosophy at Chicago State University and consults with a number of police departments to assist with the formulation of concepts, methods, and techniques related to organizational theory and administrative processes for public safety policy creation and implementation. 

She is passionate about helping local governments explore diverse perspectives and experiences related to police accountability and public safety policy and serves in this capacity at the Harvey, IL and Gary, IN police departments and as the community engagement and police practices subject matter expert for the Ferguson, Missouri Federal Consent Decree Monitoring Team.

Anderson’s research specialization areas include intergovernmental relations, federalism and public safety, police accountability and oversight program management, monitoring and evaluation, public management and leadership and organizational behavior. She is coauthor of the book titled Policing in Natural Disasters (Temple University Press; Fall 2018) as well as coauthor of the publication "Coping through a Disaster: Lessons from Hurricane Katrina," Journal of Homeland Security and Emergency Management: Vol. 8: Iss.1, Article 19. Her research has also been published as a chapter within the Department of Homeland Security sponsored book, Developing Next-Generation Countermeasures for Homeland Security Threat Prevention (2016).

Most memorable project during your time at the college:

My strongest connection to the Glenn College is the mentor I found in Dr. Charles Wise, former director/dean of the college. Dr. Wise is a brilliant scholar that took me under his wing and ensured that I received the mentorship, guidance and support required to trail blaze in both academia and practice.

What are you working on now?

Standing at the nexus of practice and theory, I most recently served as a chief performance analyst for the City of Chicago Office of Inspector General where I led audits and evaluations of the Chicago Police Department (CPD), the Civilian Office of Police Accountability (COPA), and the Police Board (PB) to increase public safety, protect civil liberties and increase the public’s confidence in the City of Chicago public safety structure.

On April 19, 2016, the City of Ferguson, Missouri and the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) entered into a Consent Decree after a 2015 DOJ investigation found a “pattern and practice” of unlawful and racially-biased conduct by the City’s police department and court system. As a member of the Federal Consent Decree Monitoring Team, I conduct reviews and audits to determine whether the city, Ferguson Police Department and the Municipal Court are in compliance with the Consent Decree. I also provide technical assistance as needed to guide the city through the complete implementation of the Consent Decree’s three important phases: 

  • Policy review and revision
  • Training and implementation
  • Auditing and compliance assessment

I am also working on another book focusing on best practices for analyzing, researching and providing recommendations to senior officials looking to effectively deliver resources and services to public safety organizations while highlighting accountability and oversight principles.

As a graduate of the college what do you hope for the Glenn College as it moves toward the century mark?

I am ecstatic about the future of the Glenn College! I am most inspired to read and refer to the college’s diversity values statement:

“The Glenn College is committed to nurturing a diverse and inclusive environment for our students, faculty, staff and guests that celebrates the fundamental value and dignity of everyone by recognizing differences and supporting individuality. We are dedicated to creating a safe space and promoting civil discourse that acknowledges and embraces diverse perspectives on issues and challenges that affect our community.” 

As an alumna, I have witnessed these values permeate through the college’s diverse faculty and student talent, recent publications, degree programs, course curricula and overall energy towards inspiring civic engagement and leadership in both academia and society at large.