Leadership & Staff

B. J. Wagner, MS

Interim Executive Director

B. J. Wagner, MS, possesses a unique blend of first-hand law enforcement experience and a deep knowledge of police policy and operating procedures, program evaluation, technical advising and procedural reviews. A noted leader in law enforcement policy, her 2019 review of the Austin Police Department resulted in significant departmental policy improvements regarding the city’s audit response and its capacity to capably deal with mental health-related situations. And, as the primary architect of the RIGHT Care-Dallas program, and engineer of many of Texas’ prison reentry systems, her work has led to the development of nationally recognized and internationally awarded law enforcement, criminal justice, crisis intervention and response systems. 

B. J. began her career in law enforcement as a county jailer and later as a law enforcement officer in rural, urban, and border areas of Texas. In response to the increasing number of contacts with persons with mental illness she experienced as a law enforcement officer, she chose to pursue studies in clinical neuropsychology and counseling psychology at Texas A&M and began working in community mental health clinics. She continued consulting with the field of law enforcement on best practices as she provided services to clientele through local mental health authorities, and has developed curriculum for disciplines across the criminal justice system on mental health awareness, symptom recognition, and verbal de-escalation techniques.

At the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ), B.J. developed front end diversion and continuity of care systems for offenders with special care needs and guided Medicaid implementation for limited populations within the State’s prison systems. While there, B.J. worked closely with the Department of State Health Services to redesign the adult assessment for admission to community mental health services to include criminogenic risk factors to ensure all persons being assessed in the public mental health system also had criminogenic needs addressed. In 2015, after serving as Deputy Director for the Reentry and Integration Division at TDCJ, B. J. joined the Texas Veterans Commission during the regular legislative session. She worked closely with governmental relations analyzing proposed legislation and advising on emerging trends and state and local initiatives to address the needs of trauma affected veterans at risk of justice involvement.

In 2015, B.J. joined the Meadows Mental Health Policy Institute (MMHPI), leading its work in Smart Justice. In that capacity, she has helped expand its reach to larger behavioral and health systems and assisted communities across Texas to both increase prevention and intervention services and reduce chronic crisis cycles and justice involvement for people with complex healthcare needs.

In October of 2019, BJ was appointed by the University of North Texas Dallas through a unique relationship with MMHPI as the Interim Executive Director of the Caruth Police Institute. In this role, B.J. will set strategic goals and plans to shape the future of the Institute’s police training, education, academic offerings, and research, as well as determining the development of capacity for evaluation, policy analysis, and technical assistance.

She is currently pursuing a PhD in Qualitative Criminology at the University of Texas at Dallas.

Shayna Vincent

Academic Program Manager

Shayna Vincent joined the Caruth Police Institute as Program Coordinator in 2010 and took the role as Academic Program Manager in 2015.  She has developed and implemented curriculum for a variety of topics for all courses, with a heavy focus in Conflict Resolution.  She manages outreach efforts to seek new faculty members and oversees program scheduling.   

Shayna has a passion for helping first responder families and has developed the Supporting the First Responder Family Program that has served over 34 public safety agencies in Texas and Oklahoma.    

She previously worked at PaxUnited National Mediation Center where she assisted in implementing a nationally recognized peer mediation program.  Shayna earned a Master’s in Alternative Dispute Resolution from Southern Methodist University and a Bachelor’s in Sociology from the University of Texas at Arlington.   

Shayna’s volunteer work includes years as a Dallas Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) for abused and neglected children and a call responder/counselor for the North Texas Suicide and Crisis Hotline.   

CPI Course Faculty

CPI's leadership classes feature a diverse group of highly-qualified instructors from a variety of backgrounds. Current and retired law enforcement officers, from chiefs to patrol officers who are subject matter experts, play a big role in our courses--but we also recruit instructors from the private sector, from non-profit management, from health and wellness professions, and from academia. The result: our graduates get input from a diverse, well-rounded group of professionals whose insight helps them to think differently about problem solving, career and personal development, and leadership.