The Seminary Explores
The Reflections of an African American Police Chief

The Reflections of an African American Police Chief

March 28, 2022

Darius Potts, Chief of Police in Ankeny Iowa, discusses the challenges facing law enforcement officers during a time of distrust and gaps between the police and the community. He is the first African American to be Police Chief in Ankeny, IA.

As Chief, he feels that one of his responsibilities is to decrease the stress levels that his officers face. That is accomplished in part by promoting communication and yearly structured mental health support for every officer.

Throughout his career in law enforcement, Potts has had to strike a balance between being an officer and dealing with the experiences of those in the communities he served. He explains the importance for both officers and the community to understand the long history of mistrust of police and that it is not a new phenomenon. African American candidates in law enforcement especially must grapple with this as they consider the profession.

Ankeny is a growing community, but the recruitment of officers is down. Fewer people are taking an interest in this profession. At present, his department is down seven staff members. The department will need more women and men for a growing community. Potts is optimistic about law enforcement and would encourage young people to consider it as their life work. With all the present-day challenges to law enforcement, Potts believes it is a noble profession.

The Abuse Scandal in the Roman Catholic Church

The Abuse Scandal in the Roman Catholic Church

October 22, 2018

Pope Frances has called a special meeting in Rome for February 2019 to address the scandal in the Roman Catholic Church concerning the abuse of boys by priests, but will it be enough?

Dr. Christopher Bellitto, Professor of History , Kean University, and author of “Renewing Christianity.”, explores the history and future of this ongoing crisis. How it has been handled and ignored in the past and what is being done about it now. He believes that–despite the bishops’ historic reservations toward “secular” interference—the first call when abuse is suspected must be to the police.

“Left Unsaid”: The Secret to the Longevity of our Constitution

“Left Unsaid”: The Secret to the Longevity of our Constitution

July 4, 2016

Dr. Kenneth Mott, Professor of Political Science, Gettysburg College; author of “The Supreme Court and the Living Constitution” takes us on a tour of the U.S. Constitution.  In addition to a structure and a process for an American government, the Constitution assumes a distinction between permanent principles and occasional demands, between the “permanent” will of the people and the “whim” of frequent change. Thus what is left unsaid is the key to the endurance of the Constitution. The role of the Supreme Court becomes critical in keeping this dialogue alive and well.
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The Public Defender as Office and Ministry

The Public Defender as Office and Ministry

October 27, 2014

Recorded before a live audience at St. James Lutheran Church in Gettysburg PA,  Dr. Christianson disusses with Kristin Rice how her office is a ministry as well as an essential public service, balancing justice with a fair trial and compassion. Publically financed defenders were established as late as the 1963 when the Supreme Court ruled that the Sixth Amendment guarantees legal counsel to poor defendants in criminal cases. She believes that the next frontier in her field must be the improvement of mental health services, and she continues her opposition to the death penalty.

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