The Center for Law & Human Behavior


Dr. Michael Smith





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 Michael R. Smith, J.D., Ph.D.

Dr. Smith is the Director of the Center for Law and Human Behavior (CLHB) at the University of Texas at El Paso. As director of the CLHB, Dr. Smith provides strategic leadership and managerial oversight of the Center. The overarching purpose of CLHB is to help catalyze the research efforts of social and behavioral science faculty and students at UTEP in pursuit of the university’s goal of becoming a Tier 1 research university. Before his appointment at UTEP, Dr. Smith served as Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences and Vice Provost at Georgia Southern University. He also chaired the Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice at the University of South Carolina where he and his colleagues established a Ph.D. program in the discipline.
Dr. Smith is a criminologist and a former municipal and county police officer. He holds a J.D. from the University of South Carolina School of Law (1993), where he served on the South Carolina Law Review, and a Ph.D. in Justice Studies from Arizona State University (1996). He has served as a principal investigator on many extramural grants and evaluation contracts over his 20 year career as a police scholar and criminal justice researcher. With funding from the National Institute of Justice, he led the most comprehensive investigation to date on the use of force by police and injuries to officers and citizens. He is a nationally-recognized expert on racial profiling and led or contributed to large-scale traffic stop data analysis efforts in Los Angeles, Miami-Dade County, Florida, Richmond, Virginia, and with state highway patrol agencies in Washington and Arizona. He served as a statistical and methodological consultant to the Special Litigation Section of the United States Department of Justice and pioneered methodologies to help inform courts, communities, and law enforcement agencies about disparities in police traffic stop practices. He has written extensively on these and other critical issues at the intersection of law, public policy, and policing. His most recent publications have appeared in Justice Quarterly, Criminology & Public Policy, and Policing: An International Journal of Police Strategies & Management.