Dr. Kyle earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in criminology at Missouri State.
He entered the program as a deputy sheriff at the Webster County Sheriff’s Office. Although Dr. Kyle also had experience as a marine stationed in Japan, his academic introduction to crime was transformative.
Was it easy? People often ask him this, but his undergraduate studies were actually challenging in that they gave him a new vocabulary and approach to what he was doing in the field as an investigator.
“I would learn these criminal theories, and then apply them to a case I was working on.”
Career advancement to PhD
It was obvious that Dr. Kyle’s studies were mixing with his work. With his bachelor’s, he advanced to patrol sergeant and, later, operations manager at a police department in Kansas.
Then, Dr. Kyle found his passion: teaching. He was allowed to adjunct teach when he came back to MSU for his master’s degree.
During his non-thesis track, department head Dr. Brett Garland and Dr. Patti Salinas encouraged Kyle to pursue his PhD. His career in both academics and in the field allowed him to pursue his PhD at Southern Illinois University.
Body cam specialization
Dr. Kyle’s dissertation was on the use of body cams. During his time in police work, Dr. Kyle introduced body cams before the advent of Ferguson and public/media awareness.
He studied body cams during the time of post-Ferguson, looking at both police force and citizen complaints and opinion.
Dr. Kyle worked with years of police reports from Newport News, Virginia. He looked at the before and after of camera implementation.
A correlation of body cam-use and general reduction of police force was found, but there was much nuance. For example, citizen complaints did not as linearly decline with the use of body cams.
The current research was “failing to take into account how these chain reactions are happening,” says Dr. Kyle.
The location, urban/rural aspect and demographics had not been introduced to the research until Dr. Kyle’s work.
Expanding his work
Dr. Kyle’s research has expanded in subject. His interests branch out to public safety and juvenile delinquency, all of which tie into his graduate-level course, CRM 750: “Law Enforcement and Community.”
He is helping students complete their thesis and increase their understanding of criminology (and their place in the field.)