Arkansas State University - Newport

Search form

ASUN Lobby

Take Flight - Criminal Justice Program

Criminal Justice students working in lab.

Caring for children, working with wildlife, helping a person in need…all of these are worthwhile professions, and if you are interested in any of these careers, then the ASUN Criminal Justice Program may be for you.  Wait. Criminal Justice? Really? Yes, that is correct.

You may think a Criminal Justice Program is for people who want to go into law enforcement, but our program at ASUN offers that and so much more. A quick glance at recruiting websites today show jobs available for Family/Youth Case Managers, Victim Assistance Coordinators, Court Clerks, Probation Officers, Wildlife Officers – and these are all good paying jobs!

Law enforcement officers are also in high demand today, and there are good paying jobs out in the workforce with plenty of room for advancement.  The ASUN Criminal Justice Program was named in 2017 in honor of Patrick Weatherford, a 15-year veteran police officer with the Newport Police Department who was killed in the line of duty in June of 2017.  If you are seeking to become a trained law enforcement officer, ASUN is the place you need to be to get your education.  Graduates of our program have either started or advanced in their careers in law enforcement with local and state agencies like the Arkansas State Police and the Jackson County Sheriff’s Department.  Amy Plaster, Assistant Professor of Criminology, understands the current difficulties facing law enforcement agencies.  Amy says, “If you feel the system is broken, be the change.”

An Associates Degree in Criminal Justice from ASUN will prepare you for many jobs, and you can get your degree in two years. If you are seeking a Bachelor’s Degree in a related field, your Associates Degree is fully transferable to several 4-year colleges in Arkansas. If you are already working in a criminal justice field, you can help yourself advance in both position and salary by earning a degree in criminal justice at ASUN.

If you are a member of our community and are interested in the Criminal Justice Program at ASUN, you can help make a difference in the lives of our students. Here are several ways you can help:

  1. Donate to the ASUN Foundation and designate your donation to go towards the Lieutenant Patrick Weatherford Criminal Justice Program.  Click here to donate: ASU Newport Donation - Arkansas State University System Foundation, Inc. (
  2. Alumni and criminal justice professionals make some of the best presenters!  Share your experiences with students in the classroom.  Contact Amy Plaster at (870) 512-7752.
  3. Be a mentor to students and help them develop into the best they can be by becoming a member of ASUN’s Criminal Justice Advisory Board.