Called to Seek Justice

The Department of Criminal Justice offers both undergraduate and graduate programs in criminal justice that will equip students to successfully pursue career paths leading to a wide variety of employment and growth options within federal, state, and local criminal justice agencies, as well as the private sector. From Homeland Security to the local police department, Criminal Justice faculty prepare students today to take their place tomorrow as the next generation of leaders and policy makers who are on the cutting edge of crime fighting in the 21st century.

The Criminal Justice Program is hosted at our Tradition Campus. However, the undergraduate criminal justice major/minor is open to students of both campuses through online course offerings and varied scheduling of onsite criminal justice classes. The Criminal Justice Master's Program is a practitioner based program offered fully online.

As the number of jobs in the criminal justice field continue to rise, so too does the demand for highly trained and educated law enforcement, corrections, court officers, agents, and administrators. If you would like to learn more about our department, please contact us to schedule a visit with a faculty advisor. We look forward to hearing from you!

Meet the Chair

Dr. Karla Pope

Karla Pope began her career in law enforcement with the Laurel Police department in 1984. She served as a patrolman, and in 1991, was a founding member of police department's K9 division. She left Laurel Police Department to take a position with the Lamar County Sheriff’s Department where she established the D.A.R.E. program in the Lamar County schools.

In 1994, she left full-time law enforcement to take a teaching position as the criminal justice instructor with The Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College where she served until January 2014.

Prior to becoming a patrolman with Laurel PD, Karla earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Paralegal Studies. While working as a patrolman with Laurel PD, she returned to school and obtained her Master of Science degree in Criminal Justice. During her tenure at MGCCC, Karla earned her Ph.D. from USM in Administration of Justice. In January 2014, Karla retired from the community college and took the position of Criminal Justice Department Chair with William Carey University where she still serves in that capacity today.

During her time as a criminal justice instructor and professor, she also served her community as a reserve police officer with Gulfport Police Department from 1995 through 2005 then as a reserve deputy with Harrison County Sheriff’s Department from 2006 through 2013. During her time with the Sheriff's department, she has served as a mounted patrol deputy, K9 deputy and trainer at the full-time academy and reserve academy. Karla rejoined the Sheriff's department as a reserve deputy in January 2016 and serves in a training capacity with both the full-time and reserve academies.

Karla has been married to retired Gulfport Police Captain Pat Pope for over 25 years and has two children, Paxton and Peyton Marie.