Chris MacMaster

Instructor / Internship Coordinator

Phone: 906-227-2660
Office: Jamrich 2507

Chris serves as a full-time instructor for the NMU Criminal Justice Department and also serves as Internship Coordinator for the Criminal Justice Department where he assists students with all aspects of criminal justice internships.  Chris retired after 25 years with the Michigan State Police in 2019.  At the time of his retirement, Chris held the rank of Detective Lieutenant where he was a supervisor in the Polygraph Section, Biometrics and Identification Division.  He was responsible for overseeing Police polygraph operations in Detroit, Lansing, and Flint.  He also administered polygraph examinations at the State Police Forensic Laboratory located in Marquette, Michigan.  

Chris' education includes a Bachelor of Science degree in Criminal Justice from Lake Superior State University and a Master of Public Administration (MPA) degree from Northern Michigan University.  In 2005, he graduated from the American International Institute of Polygraph in Atlanta, GA.  Chris has been a licensed polygraph examiner in the state of Michigan since 2007.  Chris previously was an adjunct instructor here at NMU since 2011.  Over the years, he has instructed on a wide range of topics including criminal investigations, domestic violence, polygraph examinations, interview and interrogation, law enforcement functions, crime scene processing, drug crimes, court functions, defensive operations for terrorism, traffic crash investigation, civil disorder/riot control, water safety, DUI investigation, patrol operations, dealing with the mentally ill, technology use in law enforcement, cybercrime, and report writing.

Chris has held various positions throughout his law enforcement career including state trooper, resident trooper, temporary staff instructor at the State Police Training Academy, evidence technician, at-scene crash investigator, communications division instructor, detective sergeant, specialist sergeant, and Detective Lieutenant.  On a personal note, Chris and his wife Jill are both Upper Peninsula natives from Sault Ste. Marie, MI and have resided in Marquette, MI for the past 14 years.  He enjoys the outdoors, hunting, fishing, woodworking, and landscaping. 

Christopher portrait

By: Shannon Smith

An adjunct professor in the Criminal Justice department, Michigan State Trooper Chris MacMaster began his teaching career at NMU by instructing an on-campus course, CJ 213 Judicial Function, in the winter 2011 semester.  Grateful for the opportunity, he is “happy to be at the Criminal Justice department” and is excited to begin teaching his first online course in fall 2011.

MacMaster and Courthouse

According to Chris, students taking his online class should put forth the right attitude by “actively participating in the on-line discussions in a scholarly manner” and having an “inner commitment to get work done,” for it can be easy to let work slide when taking online courses. However, when you have an instructor who indicates he aspires to be a “teacher with a positive attitude, honest, energetic,” doing well in class is certainly achievable, as long as the student possesses self-discipline.

When speaking with Chris, it is quite evident that he practices those qualities in every aspect of his life, not just in the classroom. His character makes him especially qualified to be an adjunct instructor, and his extensive background in criminal justice solidifies the material in the courses he teaches.

MacMaster inside courtroom

His background comes from years of experience as state trooper. Fulfilling a goal in his life, he became a Michigan State Trooper in 1994 and has held positions such as staff instructor at a police academy, resident trooper, at-scene crash investigator, polygraph examiner, and, currently, as a court officer at the Negaunee State Police Post.

Out of those positions, he particularly likes the job as an at-scene crash investigator, but was especially drawn to the status of polygraph examiner, where he “enjoyed the process of conducting polygraph examinations along with the interviews that accompany this truth verification process” and considers it to be “the highlight of my career.”  “[It’s a] unique, highly specialized field… [I] hope to return at some point.”

In 2010, his dedication to the state police earned him the prestigious award of Officer of the Year in Marquette County for his essential assistance in solving several investigations and his positive attitude in the workplace, among other noteworthy factors. “It really meant a lot… [I am] very grateful and humbled,” Chris remarks about receiving this honor.

Offical duties as a state trooper

The youngest of seven children, he grew up in Sault Ste. Marie, living there until the age of 21. During that time, Chris earned his Bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice at Lake Superior State University, having mentors in Professors James Madden and James (Jim) Blashill, who, Chris states, “encouraged me to go on and get my Master’s degree at NMU.”

Which is exactly what he did. Chris earned his Master’s in Public Administration at Northern in 2003, noting Dr. Brian Cherry and Dr. Robert Kulisheck as two excellent instructors that challenged his way of thinking while getting his degree.

When it comes to his home life, Chris enjoys woodworking and building furniture. He even has practice in the intricate skill of duck carving, which is something he’d like to improve upon and resume doing. He also likes to spend time outdoors, hunting and fishing, which can be especially enjoyable in and around Marquette and the beautiful Upper Peninsula.

State Trooper Chris MacMaster

Moreover, Chris loves spending time with his family, frequenting baseball and hockey games with his wife, Jill, and two stepsons, Connor and Brendan.