Foundations of Policing

Course Number:


Course Name: Foundations of Policing (Online)
Course Description:    The roles and functions of police in a democratic society, including their responsibilities for peacekeeping, law enforcement and service; the police as part of the criminal justice system and as agents of municipal government; models and styles of police behavior.
Prerequisites:    CRIMLJUS 1130 with a "C-" or better
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, you should be able to

  • Explain the roles and functions of police in a democratic society.
  • Describe the various day-to-day functions of a police agency.
  • Explain how the police function within the criminal justice system.
  • Describe the constitutional guidelines under which the police function.
  • Identify current threats to society which impact the function of police (e.g., terrorism, gangs, and drugs).
  • Discuss the physical and mental health issues that affect police.
  • Discuss the legal and moral issues police confront.

Unit Descriptions
Course Organization and Assignment Descriptions

Unit 1: The Basics behind Effective Police Operations

In Unit 1, we will cover the material in Chapters 1-3 of the text Police Operations: Theory and Practice. Chapter 1 describes the changes that have occurred in law enforcement over the years, how that change impacts the operations or "job" that law enforcement officers are required to do, and how police agencies adapt to that change through goals, objectives, policies and procedures. Chapter 2 provides an in-depth discussion of policing and methods of communication between the police and other law enforcement agencies and the police and special populations they serve. This chapter also begins to establish the constitutional standards by which police officers must conduct their daily operations. Chapter 3 continues the discussion of legal guidelines by which law enforcement officers must operate in the areas of stop-and-frisk, making an arrest, use of force application, and the execution of various types of searches.

Upon completion of this unit, you should be able to

  • Explain what police operations involve and what changes have affected those operations.
  • Describe how society, law enforcement officers, and police operations have changed over the years.
  • Describe what the Commission Act on Accreditation of Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA) is and how it affects police operations.
  • Summarize what community policing involves.
  • Explain the difference between mission and a mission statement and the relationship between goals and objectives as used by law enforcement agencies.
  • Summarize the concept of police discretion, its positive contributions, and the problems associated with its application.

Unit 2: Getting the Job Done – Basic Police Operations

In this unit, we'll study Chapters 4-9 of the textbook, which cover the meat and potatoes of law enforcement—the activities assigned to a patrol pision within a law enforcement agency. More precisely, these chapters will address patrol activities, which include traffic enforcement; responding to general calls for service (criminal or non-criminal); confronting violence at home, in the classroom, and on the job; dealing with emergency situations; and lastly, being the first line of defense when it comes to protecting our homeland from potential threats associated with terrorism.

Unit 3: Specialized Police Operations

In Unit 3, we'll cover the material in Chapters 10-12 of the textbook. We move away from operational activities that are normally associated with law enforcement officers assigned to patrol and discuss several "specialized operations, including criminal investigation; responding to issues facing children and juveniles, our nation's future; and lastly, two national threats, gangs and drugs. Depending on the size of the agency, officers working for smaller or even middle-sized agencies may still be responsible for conducting investigations dealing with the above subjects.

Unit 4: The Personal Side of Police Operations

So far in this text, we have discussed the professional responsibilities of a law enforcement officer. In these last two lessons, we will cover Chapters 13-14 of the textbook. We will change course and discuss the personal responsibilities of law enforcement officer. Lesson 13 will discuss the various physical and mental issues that an officer needs to be aware of in order to remain fit for duty. Lesson 14 will discuss the liability and ethical issues that accompany the job and pose two very important questions: is it legal and is it moral?

Grading Criteria for Activities

Assignment Possible Points
Lesson Quizzes 290 points
Internet Exercise 100 points
Discussion Questions 70 points
Discussion Board Participation 50 points
Examinations 200 points
Total: 700 points

Grading Scale
A 95% - 100%
A- 90% - 94%
B+ 86% - 89%
B 83% - 85%
B- 80% - 82%
C+ 76% - 79%
C 73% - 75%
C- 70% - 72%
D+ 66% - 69%
D 60% - 65%
F 0% - 59%


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