New Faculty Profile: Dr. Richard Riner


Dee Friesen

Alyssa Donnelly, Assistant Arts & Life Editor

Among the many new faculty on the Buena Vista University campus this fall is Dr. Richard Riner, assistant professor of criminology/criminal justice. Riner comes to BVU with both academic and professional experience in criminal justice, spending the past 10 years as law enforcement officer.

Riner received his B.A. from the University of Arkansas and is a graduate of the Arkansas Law Enforcement Training Academy. He received a Ph.D. in Criminology from the University of Texas at Dallas.

Originally from a rural area in Arkansas, Riner, along with his wife and two children, have moved to Storm Lake, IA. Living the small town life is something they are looking forward to.

Riner’s focus in the classroom is improving law enforcement education. 

“My goal in academia now is to build a better cop,” he said. “One of my instructors from the academy told me that the worst thing about police officers is that they are made out of people. Because people have problems, people make mistakes, and guess what, cops are people.”

The combination of his experiences as a police officer and his education in the criminal justice field make Riner a unique addition to the BVU Criminology and Criminal Justice program.

“I am the only one here who has both the law enforcement background and the academic background. I can highlight my differences from my own experience of how things may not be exactly how they are envisioned. A realistic vision of what it means to be a criminal justice practitioner is what I am hoping to bring to the students at BV,” Riner said.

This fall semester Riner is teaching CRIM101 – Intro to Criminology, CRIM102 – Survey to Criminology, CRIM290 – Institutional Corrections. In the spring students can join him for CRIM102 -Survey to Criminology , CRIM220 – Intro to Law Enforcement, and CRIM375 – Criminal Investigation.

Riner also said if students just want to hear stories of criminology theory or what is is like to be in a pursuit as a cop, his office door on the second floor of the Social Science & Art building is always open, and he welcomes conversations with students.