Dr. Rita J. Watkins is the Executive Director of the Bill Blackwood Law Enforcement Management Institute of Texas (LEMIT). She initially served as the Project Manager for the Leadership Command College (LCC) of the institute. Her academic background includes a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice from Sam Houston State University, a Master of Public Administration from Texas A&M University, and a Master of Arts in Counseling from Sam Houston State University. Rita also has a doctorate in Educational Leadership and Counseling from Sam Houston State University.
Dr. Watkins criminal justice experience started over 35 years ago, beginning her career as a juvenile probation officer. In her law enforcement career, Rita served as a municipal police officer, and as a chief deputy. In 1995 she graduated from the Leadership Command College (LCC), and the 182nd FBI National Academy. Rita maintains both a Texas peace officer license and is a licensed professional counselor supervisor.
Dr. Watkins research and teaching has concentrated in the areas of cultural diversity, leadership development, interpersonal communication, and implicit bias. She currently leads a Texas Governors grant on the delivery and research of Post Critical Incident Seminars (PCIS) for Texas. As a licensed professional counselor, she is a mental health professional on LEMIT’s peer support team. She previously served on the International Association of Chiefs of Police Research Advisory Committee. And currently serves a member on the Texas Police Chief’s Association (TPCA) suicide awareness committee, a group tasked with policy and best practice approaches to suicide prevention.