On Friday, February 27 at 2:15am, while most of his students were either sleeping or doing some late-night studying, Monroe Criminal Justice Professor Cornelius J. Douglas, AKA Sgt.-Det. Douglas of the NYPD's Bronx Warrant Violent Felony Squad, was apprehending one of the city's most wanted in a Yonkers apartment.
Sgt. Douglas and his team of detectives arrested Keith Phoenix, the man accused in the high-profile, hate-motivated brutal murder of an Ecuadorian man in Brooklyn. After his arrest, Phoenix admitted to the killing. In fact, he essentially confessed to Sgt. Douglas right on the spot.
"As we put the cuffs on him he told me, ‘So I killed someone, does that make me a bad guy?'" Professor Douglas was saying in the Jerome Hall CJ office last week.
Not only does society benefit from Sgt. Douglas' courageous and important work, but Professor Douglas' students also get the best of his two worlds.
"When I come to class, they ask me about current cases," he said, referring directly to the real-world education that is uniquely Monroe. "I know I inspire the students," he added, "but, you know, I also learn from them. I hear about perceptions of the NYPD and their views of how the criminal justice system works."
A twenty-two year veteran of the NYPD, Sgt. Douglas is a first-generation cop who loves both his jobs.
"After class I stay around to talk with students," he said, "and on the job, I get satisfaction from closing a case, making the streets safer, and help bringing closure to victims' families."
Professor Douglas teaches a number of courses for the School of Criminal Justice, including Forensic Applications, Intro to Policing, Juvenile Delinquency, Criminal Investigations, Criminal Law, Homicide Investigations and Police Ethics.
An affable man who appears more like a teddy bear than a homicide detective, Cornelius Douglas wears plain clothes on both his jobs!
Read Daily News article about Sgt. Cornelius' arrest of Keith Phoenix
Read NY Times article about Sgt. Cornelius' arrest of Keith Phoenix