Randy Petersen is a former senior researcher at the Texas Public Policy Foundation. Petersen spent 21 years in law enforcement in Bloomingdale, Illinois, working in patrol, investigations, administration, and management. After retiring from the Bloomingdale Police Department, Petersen moved to Texas to become the director of the Tarrant County College District Criminal Justice Training Center, one of the busiest police academies in the state. The academy was responsible for basic police training for over 40 different police agencies in the DFW Metroplex, as well as in-service training for current law enforcement officers from all over the country.

Petersen is passionate about law enforcement and criminal justice policy issues. His research specialties include the militarization of law enforcement, police training, and police-assisted diversion programs.

Petersen holds a B.S. in legal studies and an M.S. in justice administration and crime management from Bellevue University.