Law Enforcement and Justice Administration

Mission & Vision

Message From the Director

Jill Joline Myers,  J.D., Professor  & Director, The School of LEJA

The School of Law Enforcement and Justice Administration (SLEJA) at Western Illinois University is a nationally ranked and recognized school of criminal justice and public safety. The School of LEJA offers Bachelor of Science Undergraduate Degrees in Emergency Management, Law Enforcement and Justice Administration, and Fire Protection Services as well as a Public Safety Administration Masters  of Arts Degree. The School of LEJA is ranked within the top 6 programs in the nation and the Number One program in terms of its online program.

Its fire program is one of the 7 originators of the FESHE (Fire and Emergency Services Higher Education) programs in the United States. Our fire science protection program is unique among four-year institutions in that it is built from the ground up for entry-level career preparation and it is one of two nationwide baccalaureate programs designed specifically for entry-level firefighters.

WIU’s Emergency Management Program is also unique as it was the first 4-year program in Illinois to offer a B.S. degree specifically in Emergency Management and is the only EM program within the state credentialed by the Illinois Board of Higher Education.

Our students comprise about 20 percent of the student enrollment on campus, 16 percent of the Centennial Honor’s College, and the School places more interns in the field than any other division at WIU. The SLEJA has been identified as a signature program at Western Illinois University.

The School has a 50+ year history of offering students Baccalaureate and Masters degrees.  In addition to the three majors, the School currently offers thirteen minors at the undergraduate level; Law Enforcement and Justice Administration, Homeland Security, Fire Science, Fire Administration, Emergency Management, Tactical Emergency Management for majors and non majors, Operational Emergency Management for majors and nonmajors,  Private Security Administration, Criminalistics,  Corrections, and Legal Studies.

The School is especially excited about the recent transfer of Emergency Management to  our  Programs of Study. As recent incidents of floods, fires, hurricanes, tsunamis, the current pandemic, and manmade disasters have occurred and as technological improvements in GIS and virtual accessibility have radically changed the methodology and response to situations, there was a significant need to expand our Program and enhance the educational requirements needed in this field. Thus, WIU’s EM curricula was entirely redesigned so students would receive up-to date materials and instruction. This new instruction includes:

  • A strategic/operational track for those seeking employment in disaster management.
  • A tactical track for those seeking employment in first response agencies.
  • FEMA-endorsed accreditation requirements.
  • Army 525 and Air Force 10-2051 training expectations required for civilian contractors.
  • FBI, CIA and DEA competencies.
  • Knowledge related to National Incident Management System. Modern technology including GIS, drones, next generation 911 technology, digital transformation and comprehensive data systems.
  • Scientific understanding of natural disasters, earth systems, climate and weather.
  • Ties to minors in homeland security, law enforcement, fire science, etc.

This new curriculum is fully operational and accessible traditionally or online. WIU’s program is the only EM program in the nation that meets all of these standards. We have updated the emergency management curriculum  to meet FEMA, Homeland Security, Military,  and higher educatio acreditation standards. 

The Masters of Arts  in Public SafetyAdministration  degree is also offered online and in traditional foremats. The strength of all of our programs is directly attributed to the outstanding faculty. The School has a diverse faculty which includes a strong international component. Faculty members within the School come from a wide array of criminal justice and public safety occupations and professions.Their backgrounds include former F.B.I. agents, State Police Commanders, Police Chiefs, Fire Chiefs, Emergency Managers, lawyers,  judges, sheriffs, Secret Service Agents, correctional officers and juvenile justice personnel, to name a few. As such, they do a tremendous job of linking theory with practice. At the heart of our philosophy is a commitment to our students. The faculty strive to guide students’ intellectual development to the highest degree, and our curriculum is constantly infused with new ideas and perspectives.


Mission — School of LEJA

The mission of the School of Law Enforcement and Justice Administration is to provide quality, broad-based, interdisciplinary courses which provide students with the educational tools necessary to meet the challenges of the criminal justice/public safety  systems.

The WIU Fire Protection Services Program is dedicated to preparing its students to meet the difficult challenges facing firefighters and fire service administrators in the delivery of public safety services.  In support of this mission, the Fire Protection Services Program is founded on three strategic objectives:

  • The delivery of an academically rigorous and relevant curriculum.
  • Prepare future firefighters for successful careers in the fire service.
  • Prepare current firefighters for senior leadership positions.

Vision — School of LEJA

The School of Law Enforcement and Justice Administration strives to educate and inspire future public and private servants who will contribute to the public good, provide for the safety and welfare of the civil body politic, shine as an exemplary reflection of the values and work ethic of Western Illinois University, as they engage in the most noble careers,"To Protect, To  Serve," To Save Lives, and To Protect the Property of the people (Peel, 1829).

Please review the contents of this web site and the various links to maximize your educational experiences. Additionally, make sure you take full advantage of your WIU issued email account, as it is your vital link to the School of LEJA. Whether you are a new student or a returning student, the faculty and staff will do everything to make your educational experience at WIU a rewarding and memorable one.