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David Thomas, PhD

Professor
Dept of Justice Studies
Office: Merwin Hall MH - 165
Phone: 239-590-7313
Email: dthomas@fgcu.edu

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Education

Ph.D. in Forensic Psychology, The Union Institute

Specialties

Licensed Mental Health Counselor; certified expert in the use of force and all matters concerning police practices.

Research and Teaching Interests

Police, mental health, use force, forensic psychology, serial murder, and victimology

Courses Offered

  • Undergraduate Courses Taught: Introduction to Law Enforcement; Theories of Criminal Behavior; Human Behavior; Ethics in Criminal Justice; Advanced Forensic Psychology; Terrorism, Advanced Forensic Behavioral Analysis; and The State of American Policing.
  • Graduate Courses Taught: Theories in Criminal Justice; Research in Violent Behavior; Investigative Criminal Psychology; Psychology of Terrorism; and Social Constructs of Crime.
  • Graduate Research Courses Taught: Advanced Qualitative Research; Master's Thesis in Forensic Studies; Directed Research Projects; and Forensic Behavioral Analysis Practicum.

Publications

  • Thomas, D.J. (October 2018). The State of American Policing: Psychology, Behavior, Problems, and Solutions. Praeger Publishing.
  • Thomas, D.J. (September 2017). Mental health triage: A tool for law enforcement officers. Calibre Press: Glen Ellyn, IL. 
  • Thomas, D.J. (March 2017).The state of American policing. Law Enforcement Executive Forum, Macomb, IL.
  • Thomas, D.J. (October 2016). Law Enforcement Must Gain the Public’s Trust. Police Foundation, Washington DC. 
  • Thomas, D.J. (September, 2016). Quality Assurance an Assessment of the Tampa Police Department. Bureau of Justice Administration/Police Foundation: Washington D.C. 
  • Thomas, D.J., Staab, B., & Baer, E. (2015). Ft. Myers police department personnel study. Ft. Myers, FL: Florida Gulf Coast University.
  • Police Foundation, (2015). The Wilmington Public Safety Strategies Commission: A Report of Community Input on Public Safety Strategies in the City of Wilmington. Washington D.C: Author. Located at 
  • Thomas, D. J. (2014) Understanding Violent Criminals: Insight From the Front Lines of Law Enforcement. Santa Barbara, CA:ABC-CLIO/Praeger Publications.
  • Thomas, D. J. (July, 2014). Efficacy Soft Body Armor: Beyond the Five Year Expiration Date. Gainesville.
  • Thomas, D. J. (June, 2013).  Dissecting the Perfect Storm: Law, Policy, and Violent African American Juveniles. Journal of Forensic Investigation.
  • Thomas, D. J. & Barringer, T. A. (June 2013).Police perceptions of race, personal safety, and the use of force. Law Enforcement Executive Forum, Macomb, IL.
  • Thomas, D. J. &Barringer, T. A. (June 2012). Law Enforcement Officers: Perspectives on race, credibility, and community. Law Enforcement Executive Forum, Macomb, IL.
  • Thomas, D.J. (September, 2011). Implementing Fitness Standards for Police Recruits: A Case Study. Law Enforcement Executive Forum, Macomb, IL.
  • Thomas, D.J. (June 2011). The Psychological Aftermath of Critical Incidents. Law Enforcement Executive Forum, Macomb, IL.
  • Thomas, D.J. (2011). Police Psychology: A New Specialty and New Challenges for Men and Women in Blue. Santa Barbara, CA:ABC-CLIO/Praeger Publications.
  • Thomas, D.J. (March, 2010). Facilitating Organizational Culture: New Chief Old Value Systems. Southwest Journal of Criminal Justice, San Antonio, TX.
  • Thomas, D. J. (January 2010). Professionalism in Policing Instructors Guide. Clifton, Park, NY: Cengage Publishing.
  • Thomas, D. J. (December, 2009). Professionalism in Policing: An Introduction, Clifton, Park, NY: Cengage Publishing.
  • Barringer, T.A. & Thomas, D. J. (March 2009). Answering the Call for More Minority Police Officers. Law Enforcement Executive Research Forum, Macomb, IL.   
  • Thomas, D.J. & Barringer, T.A. (November, 2008). Developing Fitness Standards for Police Officers. The Public Safety Chronicle, St. Leo, FL.
  • Thomas, D. J. (December, 2008).  Culture and The Hostage Negotiation Process. Law Enforcement Executive Research Forum, Macomb, IL.
  • Barringer, T.A. & Thomas, D.J. (June, 2007). Law Enforcement Officers: Their Perception of Personal Safety and Job Performance. Law Enforcement, Executive Forum, Macomb, IL.
  • Thomas, D.J. (December, 1988).  Reacting and Surviving. Police Magazine, Torrance, CA.
  • Thomas, D.J. (January, 1986). Defensive Tactics Manual. Grant funded project through the Michigan Office of Criminal Justice, Lansing, MI.

Conference Presentations

  • October 4, 2018, Thomas, D.J. Fight, Flight or Freeze - The Psychological impact of a Critical Incidents, National Conference on Active School Shooters, Orlando, FL. October 4, 2018.
  • April 3 & 5, 2018. Thomas, D.J. Training. 21st Century Policing: Professionalism in Policing Series.Alachua Police Department, Alachua, FL.
  • March 8, 2018. Thomas, D.J. Consult, University of Florida Counseling Center – Confidentiality Agreements & Department Safety Plan. Gainesville, FL
  • February 23 & 24, 2018. Thomas, D.J. McKnight Mid-Year Research & Writing Conference. Florida Education Foundation. Tampa, FL
  • December 12 & 14, 2017. Thomas, D. J. Understanding Society and it’s Impact on Policing. Presented at the Alachua Police Department, Alachua, FL
  • August 17 – 24 2017.Thomas, D.J. The psychological aftermath of an officer involved shooting: Fit for duty evaluations. University of Florida Police Department, Gainesville, FL.
  • August 5, 2017. Thomas, D.J. Transgender: The Challenges of Health, Family and Employment, South University Safe-T-Net Conference, Savannah, GA
  • March 7 & 9, 2017. Thomas, D. J. The Cost of Bias: An examination of bias and use of force Decision Making. Prepared for the Alachua Police Department, Alachua, FL.
  • January 30, 2017, Thomas, D.J. The Cost of Police Bias, Furman University, Greenville, SC
  • June 23, 2016, Thomas, D.J. Candid Conversations about Officer Wellness and Safety: A Focus on Pillar 6 of the President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing. Atlanta Police Department, Morehouse College, & The Atlanta Police Foundation. Atlanta, GA.
  • May 25 -27, 2016, Thomas, D.J. Wrote and Administered Sergeant’s Promotional Process, High Springs Police Department, High Springs, FL.
  • March 23-25, 2016 Thomas, D.J. Wrote and Administered Sergeant’s Promotional Process, Alachua Police Department, Alachua, FL.
  • December 3, 2015. Thomas, D.J., Conflict Resolution in Crisis Situations, University of Florida Dean of Students & University of Florida Protest Team. Gainesville, FL. 
  • September 22, 2015.Thomas, D.J. Pre-employment Police Psychological Evaluations, Gainesville Chapter National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives, Gainesville, FL.
  • September 17, 2015. Thomas, D. J. Assessing Client’s Understanding of Human Behavior. Florida Association Private Investigators. Orlando, FL. 
  • August 1, 2015. Thomas, D. J. Homicide - The Aftermath of a Murdered Child Trauma in the African American Community; South University Safe-T-Net Conference Savannah, GA
  • January 20 – 21, 2015. Thomas, D. J. The State of American Policing; North Florida Law Enforcement Agencies. Santa Fe College, Police Department; Gainesville, FL
  • September 2014. Thomas, D. J. Profiling Violent Offenders. Florida Association of Private Investigators.  Orlando, FL.
  • July 2014. Thomas, D. J. Soft Body Armor: What do we really know? Florida Police Chief’s Association, Orlando, FL

Grants & Awards

  • 2019 Silver Medal Award Winner, Independent Publishers Book Award, Category Current Affairs for the text: The State of American Policing: Psychology, Behavior, Problems, and Solutions. Praeger Publishing.
  • July, 2014, Senior Research Fellow/Science Advisor, Police Foundation, Washington D.C.
  • December, 2009. Series Editor, Series entitled: Forensic Psychology, ABC-CLIO/Praeger Publishing.

David J. Thomas, PhD, LMHC is a professor of forensic studies at Florida Gulf Coast University in Ft. Myers, FL. Dr. Thomas is a retired police officer retiring from the Gianesville Police Department in 1998. Dr. Thomas is the author of the award-winning book: The State of American Policing: Psychology, Behavior, Problems and Solutions. Other books that Dr. Thomas authored are: Understanding Violent Criminals: Insight From the Front Lines of Law Enforcement; Police Psychology: A New Specialty and New Challenges for Men and Women in Blue: and Professionalism in Policing: An Introduction. Dr. Thomas is a Senior Research Fellow with the Police Foundation in Washington DC and is a recognized expert in in the use of force and police practices in state and federal courts. In addition to his academic pursuits, Dr. Thomas is the CEO of Police Counseling Services, LLC where he provides consulting and counseling services for several law enforcement agencies in North Florida.