Police-Community Relations

Course Number: CRIMLJUS 4130
Course Name: Police-Community Relations (Online)
Course Description:    Analysis of the interdependence of the police and community in maintaining order and controlling crime; theories of community and the community's role in the development of police systems; tension and conflict in police-community interaction; programs and strategies for improving the quality of police-community relations.
Prerequisites:    CRIMLJUS 2130 with a "C-" or better and junior standing
Level: Undergraduate
Credits: 3
Format: Online
Program: Bachelor of Science in Business Administration
Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice

Registration Instructions

NOTE: The information below is representative of the course and is subject to change.  The specific details of the course will be available in the Desire2Learn course instance for the course in which a student registers.

Additional Information

Learning Outcomes
Upon completion of this course, student will be able to:

  • Identify the multiple communities that interact with a police agency
  • Identify and distinguish problem areas for police and community relationships
  • Demonstrate awareness of particularly critical issues for police agencies in dealing with the public
  • Develop a police-community relations profile of a police agency
  • Provide a critical overview of various police-community relations strategies

Unit Descriptions

Unit 1
In Unit 1 we will review the American system of justice and determine where the police fit into the system.  We will then study the role of the police in a changing society in terms of perceptions, the police officer's role, conflicts, paradoxes, and the media. Next, we will examine police-community relations as a concept; review the history of community relations; define community relations; and look at the various systems and communities involved with police-community relations.  Finally, we will compare police public relations and police-community relations.  

Unit 2
In Unit 2 we study the public and the police as external and internal communities.  We will examine the relationships within the police organization--the formal and informal organization, the organizational units, and considerations of dealing with other employees.  Another segment will deal with coping with the human experience of being a cop and how that changes, plus the social and health hazards of the work.  We will complete this unit with a look at the communication process, and how verbal, non-verbal, and symbolic interpersonal communication affects official communication. We will also examine barriers to effective communication.

Unit 3
In Unit 3 we will examine police discretion, that is, selective and discretionary enforcement, and its role in the criminal justice system.  Next, we will delve into the various models and their application in community policing.  We will also study the massive impact of the media and discern its importance in police-community relations.  Finally, we will examine how police deal with the challenges presented by the special populations of the young, the elderly, and the disabled.

Unit 4
In Unit 4 we will learn how cultural considerations affect police-community relations.  Next, we will examine forms of dissent and their effects in terms of social conflicts and involvement by the police, courts, and corrections. We will also study conflict management as an alternative strategy to arrest and its use in maintaining an orderly community.  We will review citizen participation in community control.  Finally, we will conclude this unit by studying some challenges that police-community relations will face in the future.

Grading Information

Students will be evaluated on the following:

Class participation: Students will reply to their choice of 2 of 4 discussion questions each week and provide responses to 2 other student's discussion replies.
Written assignments: Students will complete 10 written assignments.
Course research paper: Students will write one (1) 6-9 page research paper exclusively for this course.
Final exam:  Students will complete a final exam.          

Grades will be determined based on total accumulated points.  Grades are NOT based on percentages, and therefore, will not be rounded at the end of the semester.  Your grade will reflect the points that you earned.  The breakdown of points is as follows:

Discussion Questions (18 @ 5 pts. each) 90 points
Discussion Responses (18 @ 1.67 pts. each) 30 points
Written Assignments (9 @ 10 pts. each) 90 points
Research Paper 100 points
Final Exam 90 points
Total: 400 points
Possible Extra Credit 10 points


Grading Scale
A 360 - 400 points
B 320 - 359 points
C 280 - 319 points
D 240 - 279 points
F 0 - 239 points


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