The purpose of the Police Career Incentive Pay Program, or Quinn Bill, enacted in 1970 by the Massachusetts legislature, was to encourage police officers in participating municipalities to earn degrees in law enforcement and criminal justice and to provide educational incentives through salary increases.
The enactment of such legislation and the expansion of criminal justice as an academic field can be attributed to the 1967 report of the President's Commission on Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice (the Johnson Crime Commission). A predominant theme of the Commission's reports was that the quality and effectiveness of American criminal justice would be decisively improved by upgrading the educational credentials of its practitioners. In 1968, the Commission's recommendations were underwritten with Congress' authorization of the Law Enforcement Assistance Act (LEAA). Congress created a program that contained elements of the G.I. Bill and the ROTC program; LEAA made federal funds available to law enforcement, judicial and correctional personnel to return to school, and to assist college students preparing for careers in the criminal justice system. In response to student demand and the influx of Federal funding, colleges and universities established degree programs called police science, criminology, criminal science, and many others. Enrollments skyrocketed through the 1970s, the 1980s, and the 1990s. Several insightful summaries of the development of criminal justice higher education are available (see, for example, Ward and Webb, The Quest for Quality, 1984).
Across the United States during the last quarter century, criminal justice academic programs have been transformed from "police science" programs to multidisciplinary criminal justice degree programs that emphasize empirical research, development and testing of theory, and the examination of policy-relevant questions across the criminal justice system and at the intersection of criminal justice and other social institutions.