In September 1941, Dr. Vivian Anderson Leonard was asked by the president of Washington State University if he would accept the directorship of a Police Science Academic Program at Washington State. Dr. Leonard accepted the offer and became responsible for developing a four-year curriculum that would lead to a Bachelors Degree in Police Administration.
Upon his arrival at Washington State, Dr. Leonard began to realize how important it was that a Police Science Honorary be established. The purpose of this honorary would be to promote excellence in scholarship and performance. In January 1942, Dr. Leonard met with seventeen Police Science majors at Washington State and Alpha Phi Sigma was established. Glenn Hill was elected as the first president and appointed a committee to draft the first Constitution and By-Laws.
During its initial years, Alpha Phi Sigma experienced only limited growth, but on March 24, 1976 in Dallas, Texas, the Executive Board of the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences voted unanimously to designate Alpha Phi Sigma as the National Criminal Justice Honor Society. At this time, Alpha Phi Sigma had only fourteen chapters; however, since then, Alpha Phi Sigma has continued to grow and prosper at a very rapid rate and there are now over two hundred and fifty Chapters.