John P.J. Dussich Award
Presented to Bill Doerner
Bill's interest in victimology began over 35 years ago when he joined the research team of Dick Knudten, Mary Knudten, and Tony Meade at Marquette University to work on the "Milwaukee Victim-Witness Project." A few years later, he completed the Ph.D. program in sociology at the University of Tennessee and joined the faculty at the Florida State University (FSU), where he continues to teach today in the College of Criminology and Criminal Justice.
Bill was active on the victim services front during the formation of the National Organization for Victim Assistance (NOVA). Eventually, his grass-roots interests brought him closer to home where he spearheaded efforts to form the Florida Network of Victim/Witness Assistance and served as that organization's founding president. His location in the state capital offered many unique opportunities. He served in an advisory capacity with the fledgling Florida Crimes Compensation Commission, helped establish the victim/witness unit in the State Attorney's Office for the Second Judicial Circuit, and promoted victim service delivery programs throughout the state.
It was during this time that Bill and John Dussich, the person whom this Award honors, became better acquainted with each other. John had already earned his doctoral degree at FSU prior to Bill's arrival and was a consultant to the Milwaukee Project. John had gone on to assume pivotal roles with NOVA, the federal Department of Justice, the United Nations, and as a victimological ambassador all over the globe. With John's encouragement, Bill developed a blueprint for a graduate seminar and an undergraduate course in victimology. As a result, FSU became one of the earliest universities in the country with such collegiate offerings.
Bill's career moved in an allied direction with a burgeoning interest in law enforcement. In 1980, the Tallahassee Police Department hired Bill as a part-time patrol officer while he continued in his role as a FSU faculty member. His field experiences, combined with an advocacy for victim services, provided TPD with a valuable resource. The agency joined hands with the community to develop initiatives that addressed the plight of domestic violence victims, survivors of sexual battery, maltreated children, the elderly, and other parties.
These experiences coalesced when Bill enlisted Steve Lab, his first doctoral student, to help write the textbook Victimology published by LexisNexis/Anderson and currently in its fifth edition. In the mid-1990s, the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences, the national organization of criminal justice professors, launched the practice of hosting didactic seminars on cutting-edge topics at its annual meeting. Bill was invited to host a session during the inaugural series and teach educators the "ins and outs" of offering a course in victimology. These and other efforts over the years have resulted in decorations from TPD, an outstanding teacher award from FSU, a five-year stint as editor of the American Journal of Criminal Justice, and being named the "Outstanding Educator of the Year" by the Southern Criminal Justice Association in 2001.