Growing up in a military family, Amanda Willows has always been passionate about criminal justice and law enforcement. She achieved her goal of becoming a police officer, but had to retire from patrol after being seriously injured in the line of duty. Upon returning to school, she was nervous about being a non-traditional student with disabilities. Nonetheless, she knew she made the right choice as the faculty at A&M-Commerce went above and beyond to help her succeed. After witnessing her success, both her sons earned their degrees from A&M-Commerce, too.
Returning to A&M-Commerce as an instructor is a dream come true for Willows and she is honored to help others reach their goals in the field of criminal justice.
A Conversation with Amanda
What would you tell a student who is thinking about attending A&M-Commerce?
A&M-Commerce is the perfect place for any student. It has a positive atmosphere that is welcoming to traditional and non-traditional students. A&M-Commerce is a rural campus that provides a full university experience. There are so many exciting programs to choose from and the faculty truly care about their students.
What draws you to your discipline?
I have always been passionate about law enforcement and criminal justice. I was a very active police officer who loved my profession. I had to retire from working patrol after being seriously injured in the line of duty. I decided to use my experience, skills and knowledge to help future criminal justice professionals reach their dreams and goals.
What has been your favorite course to teach?
My favorite course to teach is Homeland Security. Our world is rapidly changing and globalization has created many new challenges for law enforcement. The threats to our safety at home have changed over the past 20 years and will continue to evolve. It is crucial that our law enforcement officials at all levels are well prepared to face these threats.
Tell us about a project you are currently working on or recently completed.
I am the president and founder of a non-profit corporation called Lamar County Adopt A Cop. We provide safety equipment and training funds for our local police and first responders when the costs exceed department budgets. We have provided over 200 vests, 150 ballistic helmets and numerous other equipment to help keep our officers and first responders safe. We also hold annual events to strengthen the relationship between our officers and the citizens they serve.
- M.A., Curriculum and Instruction, Angelo State University, 2019
- M.S., Global Security Studies, Angelo State University, 2017
- M.S., Criminology, Texas A&M University-Commerce, 2014
- B.A., Sociology, Texas A&M University-Commerce, 2013
Honors and Awards
- Distinguished Citizen, City of Reno, November 2021
- Proclamation for Officer Safety and Community Leadership, Lamar County Commissioners Court, January 2017
- Female-perpetrated terrorism
- Life-course criminology
- Mass violence
- American Society of Criminology