Policing in a Democratic Society

Course Number: CRIMLJUS 7120
Course Name: Policing in a Democratic Society (Online)
Course Description:    Policing in a democratic society offers a critical and an in-depth analysis of past, present, and future law enforcement functions in the United States. Examines how police as agents of social control operate and function within a democratic society.
Prerequisites:    None
Level: Graduate
Credits: 3
Format: Online
Program: Master 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 history and development of law enforcement in the United States, including the various eras of the policing profession and the associated societal changes that accompanied them.
  • Describe the various structures and organizational styles consistent with contemporary police departments.
  • Explore endemic issues facing law enforcement.
  • Explain contemporary issues associated with community-oriented policing from a historical perspective and a prospective perspective.
  • Describe current and future law enforcement trends in maintaining social control.
  • Critically analyze problems, issues, and challenges facing law enforcement agents.
  • Understand problem-oriented policing.
  • Understand law enforcements role in responding to and preventing terrorism, as well as their role in maintaining local social order.
  • Describe current and future opportunities and challenges the policing profession faces within a democratic society as media, social media, and the various branches of that society define the evolving role of the police in a democratic society.

Unit Descriptions
Course Organization and Assignment Descriptions

Unit 1: An Overview of the Structure, History, and Development
Upon completion of this unit, you should be able to

  • Appraise the historical development of policing in the United States.
  • Compare and contrast the political and professional models of policing.
  • Distinguish and analyze the various eras of law enforcement in this country.
  • Differentiate various theories of police culture and behavior.

Unit 2: Discretion, Force, Deviance, and Ethics
Upon completion of this unit, you should be able to

  • Differentiate and evaluate the various forms of illegal police behavior.
  • Compare and contrast various theoretical perspectives on police misconduct.
  • Assess the various aspects of police ethics.
  • Evaluate the role of research in setting police policy.

Unit 3: Drug Enforcement and Community Oriented Policing
Upon completion of this unit, you should be able to

  • Appraise the role of the community in community policing.
  • Compare and contrast the various models of contemporary policing.
  • Assess the role of organizational leaders in modern police thought.
  • Evaluate the growth of community-oriented policing.

Unit 4: Hazards, Organizations, the Present, and the Future
Upon completion of this unit, you should be able to

  • Appraise the historical development of deadly force policies.
  • Assess the impact of civil liability cases in law enforcement operations.
  • Analyze the role of research in law enforcement.
  • Evaluate future trends in law enforcement.
  • Describe law enforcements role in response to and prevention of domestic and international terrorism.  

Grading Criteria from Activities

Assignment Possible Points
Weekly Discussion: Assignments/Responses (12 @ 10 pts. each) 120 points
Position Papers (4 @ 50 pts. each) 200 points
Group Project 100 points
Final Examination 100 points
Total: 520 points

Grading Scale
A 470 - 520 points
B 420 - 469 points
C 370 - 419 points
D 320 - 369 points
F 0 - 319 points


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