Applied Sciences Lauds UM Legal Studies Graduates for Excellence

Criminal justice alumni take home honors from Oxford Police Department

Oxford Police Department officers Rachel Ratcliffe (left) and Joshua Shipp (right), a recent graduate and graduate student, respectively, in the UM criminal justice master’s program, use money collected through the Alpha Phi Sigma criminal justice honor society to help the McGlown family (center) buy presents for Christmas. Ratcliffe and Shipp were honored at the recent Oxford Police Department annual awards banquet for excellence on the force. Photo by Sarah Sapp/School of Applied Sciences

OXFORD, Miss. – The University of Mississippi School of Applied Sciences recently recognized three graduates of the Department of Legal Studies for their outstanding performance on the local police force and taking home top honors at Oxford Police Department‘s annual awards banquet.

Rachel Ratcliffe, who earned her bachelor’s degree in criminal justice in 2015 and her master’s in 2017, recently was awarded OPD’s Operations Major Award for exceptional casework and community outreach. She has been a full-time officer with OPD for almost two years.

Kevin Parker, a 2010 UM criminal justice graduate, earned the Oxford Police Department’s Officer of the Year award at its annual awards banquet. Submitted photo

Joshua Shipp, who earned his bachelor’s degree in criminal justice in 2012 and is enrolled in the master’s program, received the SWAT Officer of the Year Award, while Kevin Parker, a 2010 graduate, received the Officer of the Year Award for the second time in his career. Together, Shipp and Parker recently took over the duties of running OPD’s SWAT Team.

“We have organized entry standards for the team, created tryout events, organized a SWAT school for the team, scheduled training, created partnerships with new federal and local agencies, created a three-year strategic plan for the team and hosted training for surrounding agencies,” Shipp said.

Leaders from the School of Applied Sciences praised these accomplished alumni for making a difference in the community.

“It is tremendously gratifying to see the rapid professional success of our legal studies graduates,” said Peter Grandjean, the school’s dean. “Officers Ratcliffe, Shipp and Parker exemplify what can be achieved when bright minds and formal education are combined with determination, tenacity and desire to serve others. I could not be more proud of these graduates and our legal studies department.”

Linda Keena, interim chair of the Department of Legal Studies, commended the officers for using what they learned in the Ole Miss classroom to enhance the city of Oxford.

“Research indicates that when confronting resistance, educated law enforcement officers excel in using discretion, tolerance and restraint,” Keena said. “We are very proud of how these graduates have become a relevant asset to their department and the community.”

The School of Applied Sciences, home of the Department of Legal Studies, offers professional preparation programs that integrate academic study, clinical training, creative research, service-learning and community outreach, leading to the development of leaders whose professional endeavors will improve health and well-being.