Name: Dr. William Solomons
Academic Rank: Assistant Chair, Assistant Professor
Department: Criminal Justice
School: Engineering Technologies/Engineering Science
Office: SH 203
Education: Ph.D., Capella University
M.A., Seton Hall University
B.A., John Jay College of Criminal Justice
Dr. William Solomons, assistant chair and professor of Criminal Justice at County College of Morris, went into the police academy when he was 19. Six months later, he was patrolling the streets of Madison with a gun strapped to his hip, but was too young to buy his own ammunition as he was not yet 21.
He worked for most of his career at the Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office, investigating crimes and teaching at the police academy.
Lessons Learned Close to Home
One of his earliest cases as a detective hit close to home. A man mentioned molesting a young boy during a therapy session. His therapist was obligated to report it. Solomons followed all possible leads to find out who the boy was, but came up empty. He then interviewed the man. Ultimately, the man confessed, providing the name of the boy.
“When he told me who the kid was, my heart dropped,” says Solomons. “I had coached him in baseball the year before. He had not had an easy life. As difficult a situation as it was, I was grateful that it was I who informed the family about it.”
He also learned about racism close to home. “My youngest brother is adopted and is African American. Although a good kid and a good driver, he used to tell me about how he was stopped on almost a daily basis in certain towns. This was eye opening. Whether or not I saw racism directly, I had to acknowledge it and address it in my job and in my teaching.”
Being Part of the Community Locally and Globally
Solomons believes that maintaining a relationship within the community – locally and globally – is important for police officers. Early in his career, he became associated with an organization whose volunteers travel to various parts of the world, visiting orphanages and senior centers, dressed as Santa. He has visited communities in Africa, Asia and South America. “You never forget the feeling of walking into an orphanage dressed as Santa with bags of toys,” he says.
“There are intense highs and lows in law enforcement,” he notes. “But I am not certain that there exists a better job out there in which it is possible, every day, to make a positive impact in people’s lives.”