ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS - The Muzzling of the Sheepdog - Dissertation by Dr. Christopher T. Landavazo

When I die, I want the gifts, skills, experiences, and wisdom granted to me by God to be fully used up in a way that leaves the world a better place for future generations of Americans.  This passion to be an agent of change has often required the greatest sacrifices to be made by those closest to me.  Without them, none of this would be possible.  I would like to acknowledge all those who helped make my dissertation journey possible.

First, I would like to say thank you to my family for being my inspiration.  Grandma Rose A. Cardona, thank you for always encouraging the pursuit of higher education.  It would have been an honor to have you here to witness this day, but I am honored to be the first in our family to earn a college degree and to continue on a path to make good on my promise to you, to have a “doctor in the family.”  I now have the honor of joining 1% of Latinos worldwide that achieve this level of education and earn this title.  To my grandma, Margaret Landavazo, thank you for your spiritual guidance and instilling of faith and trust in God.  And, to my grandfathers, Tobe Landavazo, Raymond Silva, and Frank P. Cardona, whom all fought in WWII, thank you for your collective example of the importance of being of service to others and to our nation.  In memory of my sister, Monique Landavazo, for her presence in my family and my personal drive to be an instrument of positive change.

To my mom, Lucille R. Landavazo, and dad, Michael F. Landavazo, thank you for your unconditional love, patience, and understanding.  You have been the best parents any child could ever want or need.  Although your journey has not always been easy, the lessons we learned as a family, by your strength, courage, perseverance, and focus on family, have provided a solid foundation for our family’s growth and prosperity.  Even though you may not have understood the world of academia, thank you for encouraging me to chase my dreams.  Your support means more to me than you will ever know.

I fully believe in intention, so putting it out there in the universe: to my brothers, Fire Chief Sean P. Landavazo and Lieutenant Michael D. Landavazo, thank you for a lifetime of adventures.  You have both been a source of inspiration and I am proud to continue serving alongside you in service and protection of our communities.  Every day I don the badge and gun, I think about Stephanie Landavazo, Jordan Landavazo, Rian Landavazo, Kristen Landavazo, Ellie Sue Landavazo, and Kaden Landavazo.  I am grateful to God to have been given the mission along with both of you, to keep the world a safer place for them and for others.  Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the sons of God – Matthew 5:9.

To my mentors, Roberta and Phil Abner, Joe Dempsey, Lynda Castro, Donnie Mauldin, Diana Holloway, John Pinette, and to the police officers who helped shape me in my formative years at Ventura Police Department: Bernadette Compean, Tim Turner, Kristen Fortin, Gregory Utter and Nancy Schindler, thank you for believing in me and supporting me throughout the years.  To my 4th and 5th grade teacher, Carol Lawrence, who was the first teacher who taught me to believe in myself, I am eternally grateful to you.  Each of you has been instrumental to my professional growth, development, and advancement.  I hope I have done you all justice – thank you.

Thank you to my committee, Dr. Douglas Devore, Dr. Laurie Love, and Dr. Curtis McIntyre for your persistent expectation of academic greatness, encouragement, and guidance through this dissertation journey.  You taught me, inspired me, challenged me to carefully examine everything and to become a beacon of analytical thought and dedicated practitioner of research.  I would like to additionally thank Dr. Heather Taylor Holbert for your partnership to ensure the accuracy of my data.  Collectively, you have helped me navigate the obstacles of the dissertation journey and produce a study that adds to the academic knowledge of police officers, news media and the importance of ethical standards and transparency within both professions.

To my Delta Cohort members, you have been my trident, and Dr. Love the rod. Thank you for being the team I needed along this journey.  Tammie Castillo-Schiffer, thank you for being the organized member of the Delta-team and for helping us to navigate this process.  To my partner in crime, Madeline Roachell, your right words are not enough.  Thank you for being crazy enough to take this journey with me and for your wise counsel, support, and courage to challenge me to consistently take a broader view.  As this journey comes to an end, I know our bond cannot be broken, and that we are stronger, wiser and more ready for the adventures ahead.  Friends for life.  Deltas, no matter the mission or journeys that lie ahead, know that you have a partner for life and that I expect nothing short of greatness from us all.

Last but not least, I would like to thank my military family, law enforcement families at the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department (LASD) and Ventura Police Department (VPD), and my closest friends and family.  Your presence in my life has become the driving force.  Thank you to Lupe and Darlene Jaramillo, Ray Silva, Gladys Gallegos, Mary Ann Martino, Leonard and Connie Aguayo, Paul and Gloria Silva, Father Joe Bitar, John Applegate, Crisanta Castillo-Reyes, Trent Miles, Bill Moulder, Veronica Chau, Daly Tapiz-Chau, Angela Gonzalez, Pauley Perrette, Sean Tabibian, Sharon Hakimfar, Jamie Masada, Christine Devine, Ed Medrano, Mark Yokoyama, Ken Corney, Alex and Vivian Villanueva, Michael Learned, Mark Sackett, Lt. Col. Bob Friend, Millie Taylor, LaJuana Haselrig, Ed Ramirez, Deborah Cotto, Patrick Jordan, Lynne Klamser, Sergio Aloma, Diane and Cheri Dodd, Megan Delaney, Shane Chapman, Nancy Iwata, Alise Norman, Lyle Trainer, Mark and Gerri McCorkle, Marcus Smith, Mara and David Kluth, Richard Fernandez, Brandi Kjose, Brian Fagan, Calpernia Sarah Addams, Anthony Putney, Eric Tatro, Thomas Schoos, Wayne Countryman, Jaquie Stewart, Debby Holiday, Brook Marshall, Melvin Joseph, Cole Spurrier, Betsy Watson, Jenna Nunez, Dottie Conroy, Tammy Sherman, Mike Moen, Steve Gordon, Vic Davalos, Shawn Kehoe, Keith Melanson, Sharon Maister, Ashley Guimont, Justin Melnick, Jonathan Pinto, Shahin Yousefi, Kimberly Guerrero, Suzette Becerra, Alejandra Godinez, Nancy Gonzalez, Tamayo Minerva, Nancy Reza, Axel Elias, Iris Bernal, Nilda Rivera, Dr. Nii-Quartelai Quartey, Dr. Christine Zeppos, Mary Sieger Leaf, Andrew Sass, Tarjamo Hannu, Jack Osbourne, David Ayala, Natasha Butler, Noelle Caldwell-Allebest, Sergio Mancilla, Jason Wolak, Lewis Howes, Mark Phelan, Janet Barragan, James Chambless, Vince Cisneros, Brittany Collins, Dottie Conroy, Dr. Joe Granish, Robert Esson, Anthony Otero, Tom and Eva Hernandez, Arwen Hernandez, Dawne Hernandez, Heather Hernandez, Jane and Scott Twombley, Taryn and Ron Oestreich, Tonya Wilkerson, and Bridget and Marc Saunders.  A special thank you to the following: Rubin Lino, Chase Coniglio Christian Thomas, Victor Vasquez, and Matthew Stratman.

Finally, thank you to all the professors and professional staff who work with Brandman University’s doctoral program.  You taught me how to develop transformational solutions to support the challenges facing law enforcement and our nation.  This educational foundation has helped me take a stronger, more effective leadership role in law enforcement.  In closing, may God continue to bless, inspire, and work within each of us to transform our world.  Thank you for being a part of my journey.  Onward and upward!

Statement of Purpose

Doctoral Journey - Day 1

Doctoral Journey - Day 1

When I was 11 year’s old, I was violently assaulted by a drunk Caucasian woman in the middle of the night on an Amtrak train going from San Bernardino to Gallup New Mexico. I was traveling alone. The woman used every racial slur imaginable in a train car packed with adults of every background, yet no one came to render assistance. I recall holding fast to the armrest, trying to keep her from forcing me out of my seat. With a bludgeoning blow, she won by busting my lip open. She did not want to sit next to a “wetback,” and she thought it best to use anger, discrimination, and hate to force me out of my seat. I spent the rest of the night in the observation car, feeling troubled and different, sobbing myself to sleep.

The next morning, train officials summoned police officers to the Flagstaff train station and the woman was escorted off the train. As a child, I was relieved to see the police. To me, they were a symbol of law, order, and protection. That day, I swore that I would never allow myself to be like one of the docile passengers on the train that night who, although fully aware of what was happening, stood by and did nothing for me. Rather, I wanted to be one of the officers who stood up, took action and dedicated their lives to the fight for civil and human rights, peace, and equality.

Nearly 30 years later, I have served as a law enforcement officer for 15 years. Prior to entering the ranks of law enforcement, I served eight years in the United States Navy. I am a 3rd generation American, and I became the first person in my family to graduate from college. With the aid of the GI Bill, I pursued a Masters of Leadership at the University of Southern California and awarded my Master degree in 2010. In addition to becoming an Associate Professor of Criminal Justice, I also founded the non-profit organization Cops 4 Causes which serves as a conduit between law enforcement and the communities law enforcement serves.

Sadly, over the past 10 years, I have been witness to the deterioration of trust in law enforcement officers and the Criminal Justice System. Today, the fabric of the “Great Experiment” is being torn apart by perceived and real divides in racial equity and treatment of minorities by the American Criminal Justice System. Our ability to maintain a peaceful society will be predicated on the manner in which we address these great divides in perceived and actual racial inequalities.

In my continued quest to fight for civil and human rights, peace and equality, I have chosen to pursue a Doctorate of Education in Organizational Leadership at Brandman University. I have given much thought to the rigors of this program and my ultimate desire to become a recognized law enforcement expert on race relations to promote equity within the criminal justice system. Through my work, I seek to develop programs to address the emergent needs of the United States Government to address the highly volatile issues of race, race relations and perceived police abuse of police powers.

I will accomplish these goals by partnering with existing professionals who are working on restorative justice initiatives that have lacked law enforcement involvement. The goal will be to sharply focus on causation factors of imprisonment such as poverty, lack of education and perceived bias policing practices.

It is with great thought that I share these intentions with you. I am prepared to take this next step in the commitment I have made to my career and mission in life. Through my work, I will foster healthy and effective relations between law enforcement and the communities they serve as we face these very contemporary and new domestic challenges regarding race, civil rights, and justice.