Countries Expertise: Belize, Costa Rica

Wayne Pitts, Ph.D., Wayne Pitts is a research criminologist in the Transnational Crime and Justice Research Program, part of the Applied Justice Research Division. Dr. Pitts began his career as a researcher at the Institute for Social Research at the University of New Mexico primarily doing research and evaluation of substance abuse intervention programs for juveniles and adults including significant experiences with drug courts. In 2004, Dr. Pitts became a professor in the Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice at the University of Memphis. While there, he was also the Director of the Midsouth Survey Research Center. In Memphis, his research interests evolved to include police interactions with individuals suffering from mental illness, and he was the National Evaluator for the well-known Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) Program. He also worked closely with the Shelby County juvenile detention facility and regional jails and prisons on a variety of different projects. He maintained an active interest in Disproportionate Minority Contact (DMC) and served on local and statewide DMC task forces in Tennessee.

In 2012, Dr. Pitts began working at RTI International, immediately beginning work on projects in the Dominican Republic, Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras and shortly thereafter, he relocated permanently to Central America. Hi is currently the leading the Model Police Programs, funded by the United States Department of State, Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement, in Guatemala and Honduras and he has active projects in Belize and Costa Rica. Dr. Pitts’ current research interests include international criminology, especially in Latin America; program evaluation; human trafficking; and community trust and police legitimacy.