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Dr. Stephen (Steve) Baker, Ph.D.
Criminal Justice Professor


"The American people have been very clear; . . .keep the streets and the neighborhoods of America safe. The first responsibility of Government is law and order. Without it, people can never really pursue the American dream. And without it, we're not really free." — President Bill Clinton (1994)


My name is Dr. Steve Baker and I have been teaching classes at GBC since 2004. I was the only full-time criminal justice instructor for GBC until I retired in May 2010. I am still teaching criminal justice classes, advising students, and overseeing the program as an adjunct professor. In the past I also taught some humanities and social science classes, such as the History of Rock Music and an integrative seminar on the Sixties. I have a bachelor's in History with a minor in English, a master's in Public Administration, with an emphasis in public management, and a Doctor of Philosophy degree, with an emphasis in public personnel management. For those of you who like to count, that's 12 years of college! We are never too old to stop learning.

I spent nearly 27 years as a police officer for the Mesa, Arizona police department starting in 1973. Like all police officers, I started out as a patrol officer and worked assignments in patrol, traffic, jail, and detectives. In 1978 I promoted to sergeant and worked assignments in patrol and support services (jail, Reserves & animal control). In 1980 I promoted to lieutenant and had a number of various assignments. I worked in patrol as a field lieutenant, a watch commander and a district coordinator. I had assignments in criminal investigations as the property crimes lieutenant, the person's crimes lieutenant and the intelligence lieutenant. While working in administration, I supervised, at various times, the following units: support services, planning and research, accreditation, and professional standards. In 1992 I was promoted to captain and managed the technical service division. Technical services encompassed evidence, records, communications, animal control, crime lab, identification section, information services and off-duty employment. There were 250 employees, of which only three were sworn officers. In 1997 I became a commander over one of the patrol districts. As you can see, I have had a wide range of experience in law enforcement.

Mesa, Arizona was a growing community from the 1970s to 2000. The population grew from 65,000 people to 400,000 people. The current population is about 460,000. The police department grew from a medium size department of 100 employees to a large department of 1400 employees, 800 of whom are sworn officers. Many Arizona police agencies employ a large number of civilian employees who do all sorts of jobs. For example, my old department had civilians investigating accidents, doing crime scene work, fostering community relations, investigating missing persons and runaways, investigating check cases, working in records, evidence, communications, etc. When I started in law enforcement, almost all of these jobs were performed by sworn police officers.

While employed at the police department, I went back to school and earned my master's and doctoral degrees. I know what it is like to work a full-time job and go to school. I admire all of you who are accomplishing similar feats. Add family obligations to school and job, and most students are very busy. I will do all that I can to work with students to help them achieve their educational goals.

I am married and have two children. My daughter lives in Colorado where she is a chef for a hospital. My son recently completed his master's degree in biology. He is currently working with Africanized bees at Arizona State University. He also spent several summers doing research in Norway. My wife retired recently after several years working in human services. She has taught mathematics at GBC.


Contact Information

Office Location: Arizona, Elko Campus
Phone:775.753.2348, 775.753.2244
NOTE: Substitute @ for (a) when sending a message.

Office Hours

  • Monday: By email or via Web Campus.
  • Tuesday: By email or via Web Campus.
  • Wednesday: By email or via Web Campus.
  • Thursday: By email or via Web Campus.
  • Friday: By email or via Web Campus.


  • Ph.D., Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ, 1992
  • M.P.A., Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ, 1987
  • B.A., Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ, 1971
  • A.A., Mesa Community College, Mesa, AZ, 1970


Recommended Reading

  • Centennial, James Michner
  • Wanda Hickey's Night of Golden Memories: And Other Disasters, Jean Shepherd
  • The Blue Knight, Joseph Wambaugh
  • The Poetry of Robert Frost: The Collected Poems, Complete and Unabridged, Robert Frost
  • The Daily Show with Jon Stewart Presents America (The Book): A Citizen's Guide to Democracy Inaction, Jon Stewart
  • The Adventures of Tom Sawyer & The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Mark Twain



  • Golf
  • Reading
  • Travel
  • Shooting
  • Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences
  • International Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators
  • Nevada Faculty Alliance


NOTE: Viewing syllabi in Word (blue symbol) or Excel (green symbol) requires that your computer has those Microsoft products.
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CRJ 104
Title:Introduction to Administration of Justice
Catalog Description: American criminal justice system, its development, components, and processes. Includes consideration of crime and criminal justice as a formal area of study.
My Comments:I recommend that students take this class first, especially if they are starting the AAS program. This class provides an overview of criminal justice and will provide answers to many questions about the field. This class is taught as both a live and an online class.
Syllabus (PDF)
CRJ 120
Title:Community Relations
Catalog Description: Analyzes the reasons and techniques for developing communication and understanding between the criminal justice system and various segments of the community. Recommend: CRJ 104.
My Comments:This class is generally taught as an online class during the spring semester. In it we explore the importance of police/community relations and methods used to further positive relations.
Syllabus (PDF)
CRJ 211
Title:Police in America
Catalog Description: Course includes policy history and organization, the personal side of policing, police operations, critical issues in policing, specific police problems, women and minorities in policing, and becoming a police officer. Designed to help students develop their own philosophy of law enforcement. Critical thinking and discussion of ideas and opinions essential. Recommend: CRJ 104.
My Comments:This online course is taught during the fall semester. Police in America explores the history of law enforcement in the U.S., examines police hiring and training, stress, culture, department organization and current issues.
Syllabus (PDF)
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Great Basin College - 1500 College Parkway - Elko, Nevada 89801 - 775.738.8493
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