Joseph “Joe” R. Carlson, Jr.
Job Title: Professor of Criminal Justice
Years at UNK: 26 (1993-2019); Served as chair of the Department of Criminal justice from 2000-07
Education: Bachelor of Arts in law enforcement and political science, Brigham Young University, 1973; Master of Business Administration, Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville, 1977; Ph.D., University of Southern Mississippi, 1986.
Family: Wife of 48 years, Pam; Daughters Shandy Vogt and Katherine Merrill; Sons Joe III and Jared; Seventeen grandchildren.
Career Path: After graduating from Brigham Young University in 1973, Carlson joined the United States Army. He went in through ROTC as a lieutenant and hoped to get into military police.
An infantry officer early in his military career, Carlson quickly joined military police and became a deputy warden at Fort Lewis, a military prison near Tacoma, Wash. Two years later, he was assigned to be chief of police for a military installation in South Korea.
After returning to the United States in 1980, Carlson was tasked with being chief of security for Anniston Army Depot in Alabama, which had chemical munitions. For three years, he worked to protect against potential terrorist attacks. During that time, Carlson was trained to be a hostage negotiator, and he organized two SWAT teams, one of which he was the commander.
His last stop in military police was at Fort Dix in New Jersey. He was the assistant chief of police. Carlson had about 150 officers working for him. They worked with both civilian and military police.
He retired from the Army in 1990 as a military police Major.
His teaching career started in 1990 at Boise State University, where he taught criminal justice and military science. He also taught ROTC.
Honors/Awards: Kearney Hub Freedom Award for Service in Organizations, 2005; Fort Dix, N.J., Family of the Year, 1989.
Hobbies/Interests: Civil War reenacting with Boy Scouts of America Venture Crew at Ft. Kearny.
Three words that describe your personality? Religious, family orientated, patriotic
Share something about yourself that few people know? Few know that I was in the Army Military Police for 20 years and inducted as an Admiral with my wife, Pam, in the Great Navy of Nebraska for community service. I served six years as the Bishop of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints church in Kearney.
What do you like most about your job? Teaching and working with the students.
Biggest change you’ve seen at UNK? Beautification of campus and more new buildings.
Best career advice you received? Who gave it to you? Dr. Jim Gilbert, my previous chair, was my great mentor, and I have always tried to follow his example. He taught me how to help students learn and the best teaching practices.
What is your favorite thing about UNK? Everything! Especially the great association with the university community and working with students.
Where is your favorite place to visit on campus? Probably the new weight rooms at the Wellness Center. In the winter my wife and I go there five days a week to work out.
Biggest challenge you faced in your time at UNK? Being the chair of the department and the challenges associated with it.
What qualities make someone successful in your position? Staying current in your field of study and being honest and caring towards your students.
How do you measure success? Seeing the number of our graduates who obtain quality jobs in the field and have been promoted over the years.
What is your fondest memory of UNK? All of my memories are fond. However, I especially liked when students came back to campus or emailed me about how they were doing.