Yolanda M. Leott

Yolanda M. Leott, Ph.D.Professor of Criminal Justice

Contact Information

(401) 254-3496yscott@rwu.eduCAS 144

Areas of Expertise

Police culture and behavior/stress management and reduction; police-community relations; criminal justice education; history of police roles and functions


B.A., M.A. Morehead State University Ph.D. University of Kentucky

Yolanda M. Leott earned her Ph.D. in Sociology (specialty in criminology and deviance) from the University of Kentucky in 1999. Her primary research interest is police culture and behavior—a central focus of her book, Fear of crime among inner-city African Americans and her publication of Stress among rural and small-town patrol officers: A survey of Pennsylvania municipal agencies. Dr. Leott’s research has resulted in grants, speaking invitations and analyst on multiple panels with the goal of working in partnership and consultation to develop reciprocal, innovative strategies that allow for personnel, organizational and community improvement. One such project involved completing a needs assessment of a small-town Massachusetts police department that ultimately assisted in improving trust between police and the community; previously skeptical and resistant, 81 percent of the residents voted to heighten taxes to construct a 4.65 million dollar state-of-the-art station for their police personnel. A portion of this work was later published as a book chapter entitled: “Assessing police-community relations in a changing environment” in Contemporary issues in criminal justice: A research-based introduction. As Dr. Leott’s examination of police stress and coping continues, a closely related project is also on her long-term research agenda—a historical analysis of policing in the U.S. more generally with specific attention to police-community relations in a Pennsylvania city during the antebellum period.

As an educator of both undergraduate and graduate students, Dr. Leott continually works to ensure that students and the program are on the cutting-edge of the field. In 2008 she developed the homeland security and disaster management and relief courses and regularly offers a challenging, practical learning experience in other courses (e.g., policing in America, criminological theory, introduction to criminal justice, police-community relations, stress management in criminal justice, and the role of technology in criminal justice education).  Service and contributions to well-established international and regional organizations is an asset to developing student skill-set competencies and direct involvement in networking and presentation of their work at professional conferences. Dr. Leott served as President of the Northeastern Association of Criminal Justice Sciences and continues to provide assistance on numerous Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences committees.

Dr. Leott’s Favorite Quotes: Educational/Research-Inspiration

 “If at first the idea is not absurd, then there is no hope for it.”

~Albert Einstein

"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly."

~Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Letter from the Birmingham Jail, April 16, 1963

 "No one can make you feel inferior without your consent."

~Eleanor Roosevelt

 "Work is love made visible. And if you cannot work with love but only with distaste, it is better that you should leave your work and sit at the gate of the temple and take alms of those who work with joy."

~Kahlil Gibran

 “Until lions have their historians tales of the hunt shall always glorify the hunter.”

~African Proverb

 “Until the lion has a historian, the hunter will always be the hero.” ~African Proverb