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CJ 311 Criminal Investigation

Mission Statement: The mission of Park University, an entrepreneurial institution of learning, is to provide access to academic excellence, which will prepare learners to think critically, communicate effectively and engage in lifelong learning while serving a global community.

Vision Statement: Park University will be a renowned international leader in providing innovative educational opportunities for learners within the global society.


CJ 311 Criminal Investigation


S2T 2006 DLB


Angelo, Joseph M.


Adjunct Faculty/Criminal Justice Administration


AA/Liberal Arts
BS/Criminal Justice
MA/Business & Organizational Security Management

Office Location

Wescosville, PA

Office Hours

Anytime Online or Email For Appointment

Daytime Phone


Other Phone

610-398-3975 (Evening)


Semester Dates

March 13, 2006 - May 7, 2006

Class Days


Class Time



CJ 100 & CJ105

Credit Hours


Criminal Investigation, Seventh ed., by Bennett and Hess

Textbooks can be purchased though the MBS bookstore

Textbooks can be purchased though the Parkville Bookstore

Course Description:
This course is a study and discussion of the nature and purpose of criminal investigation, historical background, tools employed, skills development, and techniques useful in the reconstruction of criminal activity.

Educational Philosophy:
I will use brevity to describe my philosophy for this particular course.  I feel learning should be enjoyable/fun and possess certain ingredients, which will challenge students each week.  We will accomplish this through the following methods: Weekly threaded discussions will serve as our means to discuss issues and interact with each other.  I believe that a healthy level of weekly discussion will make the course enjoyable and provide valuable insight to one another.  Homework and quizzes will serve as the weekly measurement to keep everyone current and up-to-date with the course.  The final exam will evaluate your understanding of the material and provide a logical conclusion for the course.  I expect everyone to therefore enjoy the next eight weeks and leave the course feeling challenged with a significant grasp of criminal investigations.

Learning Outcomes:
  Core Learning Outcomes

  1. Differentiate types of investigative techniques used in courts.
  2. Examine specific methods for investigation of major crimes.

Core Assessment:

Class Assessment:
Completing weekly Reading assignments.
Completing Weekly Discussion Questions.
Completing seven writing assignments, referred to as Papers.
Completing a proctored Final Examination
The quizzes in each week are for your benefit and do not count toward your grade.

The grading scale is as follows: A = 90-100; B = 80-89; C = 70-79; D = 60-69; F = 0-59. Grades will be based on a one thousand (1000) point system.

A= 900-1000
B= 800-899
C= 700-799
D= 600-699
F= 599 and Below

Final Exam (25% of Overall Grade) = 250 Points

7 Homework Papers Weeks 2 through 8 (35% of Overall Grade)= 350 Points; Each Paper is worth 50 points.
One comment on the papers: you will note that I do not indicate how long they are to be.  You are now upper class level, and it should not be necessary to tell you how much to write to adequately cover a topic.  If you have covered all material, you will have written enough.  I have provided my expectations of papers in week 1, but I feel that you should challenge yourself to ask if you have fully covered a topic.  My goal is to give you prompt, clear, and useful feedback to help you become a better writer and thinker.  

Weekly Participation Weeks 1 through 8 (40% of Overall Grade) = 400 Points; each weekly participation is worth 50 points
Weekly Discussion Note: You are required to respond to the posted question by each Thursday.  You are required to provide a minimum of two replies to other student's responses.  Responses should not be short one liners, however offer insightful feedback based upon logic.  Remember to always be respectful of one another keeping in mind that we do not necessarily must possess the same thought on discussion matters.

Course Grading Scale – Each paper will be assigned a grade in points which will be added at the conclusion of the course and divided by its weight in the overall grading.  

Submission of Late Work: Work should be submitted to the instructor by the last day of each assigned week.  Students experiencing a problem should contact the instructor to advise the reason work may be submitted late.  Unless authorized, late work will be subject to a penalty of 10% reduction for each week late.
Proctored final examination/Project
A final proctored examination will be taken in a proctored testing environment during the 8th (or 16th) week at one of the Park University sites around the country or at an alternative location.  For proctored examinations, photo identification is required at the time of the test.  Guidelines for selecting an acceptable proctor can be found on the Park University Website.  

Other Information on proctored exams:
It will be the responsibility of the student to arrange for a proctor, by the 6th week of the term, who is accepted and approved by the course instructor.  
Approval of proctors is the discretion of the Online instructor.  
A proctor request form will be made available to you during the first week of class so that you can send your requested proctor to your instructor for approval.  
Failure to take a final proctored exam (or submit your final project for some online graduate courses) will result in an automatic "F" grade.

Late Submission of Course Materials:
Material submitted after the submission deadline will be subject to a 10% reduction of possible grade for each week submitted late unless arrangements are made with the instructor prior to the deadline.

Classroom Rules of Conduct:
This course is offered on-line, over the Internet, using the eCollege course delivery system. Students are expected to devote a minimum of four hours per class week logged on to the computer conferencing system-the same amount of time you'd spend in the physical classroom.

A class week is defined as the period of time between Monday and Sunday. The first week begins the first day of the semester and ends midnight the following Sunday. Assignments scheduled for completion during a class week should be completed by Sunday of the week assigned. Written papers should be completed and successfully submitted so that they are in my hands on the due date.  If you ever have problems transmitting your assignments to me, telephone me immediately, and we'll get the problem solved.

Students are responsible for clicking on the link below and thoroughly reading each Online course policy.  If you have questions about any of these policies, please contact your instructor for clarification.

Course Topic/Dates/Assignments:
Week 1: The Requirements for Criminal Investigation

Text: Chapters 1 and 2
Class Activities: Introduction to online computer conference learning. Introduction & discussion of syllabus/assignment schedule and course overview.  Overview of investigations and the various aspects of the preliminary investigation, proper documentation of investigative scenes and actions.
On-line Conference Assignment: These chapters list the basics as well as the ideals.  This week we will discuss what of these resources are available to a medium-to-small police agency and how smaller agencies can meet these expectations.
Weekly Discussion Questions:
Is it more difficult to be an investigator or a uniformed patrol officer in today's world?  What characteristics make either more difficult than the other?
How would you prioritize the equipment needed for crime scene documentation on a limited agency budget?  What would you provide first, then second and so on.
What should be done if investigators at the same scene take notes and write subsequent reports which indicate different information altogether?

Week 2:  Searches and Physical Evidence

Text: Study Chapters 3 and 4
Applicable assigned web-site reading:
Class Activities: Learn and discuss the various types of searches as well as the legalities involved.  In addition, study the basic types of physical evidence these searches seek to seize.
Weekly Discussion Topics/Question:
Examine and discuss examples of good and bad handling of physical evidence, who had been responsible, their results in court and what could have been done differently.
After having examined the main points of the Dept. of Justice Inspector General's report of the allegations of improper evidence handling at the FBI lab, provide your own opinion.  Do you agree with the IG, or do you feel differently?  Provide some support for your opinion.

Week 3: Obtaining information and Arrests

Text: Chapters Chapters 5 and 6.
Class Activities: Learn the basic considerations of questioning people, compare and contrast the differences between interview and interrogation.  Study arrest procedures and legalities involved in various circumstances to include problems with court presentation.
Weekly Discussion Topics/Question:
Often a great deal of emphasis seems to be placed upon obtaining a confession.  It can be argued that, by itself, a confession is worthless because it is so easily attacked in court.  Of what value, then, is a confession?
What are the legal basis for arrest?  This may vary in different states, so be prepared to examine some differences.  What are the ramifications of improper arrests?
Offer your opinion regarding the gradual dilution of the court mandates of the 1960's such as Miranda.  Each year the courts seem to find more circumstances and cases in which these rules are set aside.  Is this a good or bad trend for investigators?

Week 4: Death Investigation, Assaults and Sexual Offenses

Text: Chapters Chapters 7, 8 and 9.
Weekly Discussion Topics/Question:
Are there any factors which make homicide investigation more or less difficult than investigation of other crimes?  Or is homicide investigation no different than investigation of any other crime?
What are the elements of crimes of assaults (what kind of assaults are there?)?  What evidence would be available and would you seek to prove these elements?
What are the elements of the various crimes of sexual assaults (again, what kinds of sexual assaults are there?)?  What evidence would be available and would you seek to find to prove these elements?
Read the Application scenario A on page 231 of your text and provide answers to the two questions.  In addition, provide a list of what physical evidence you would search for in this incident.

Week 5: Crimes Against Children, Robbery, Burglary

Text: Chapters 10, 11 and 12
Applicable assigned web-site reading:;
Weekly Discussion Topics/Question:
What makes crimes against children so different if the elements are essentially the same as for adult victims?  How do these differences impact the work of the investigator?
What are the elements of the crime of robbery? After determining these, what evidence would you seek to support and prove these elements?
On page 341 of your text, read the Application and provide answers to the questions posed after this example, with particular emphasis on question 5.  Provide discussion to each others' responses.
Examine the unique aspects of Munchausen Syndrome By Proxy.  Provide information of how you would investigate this type crime.

Week 6: Fraud and White-collar Crime, Motor Vehicle Theft and Arson/Bombings

Text: Chapters 13, 14 and 15
Weekly Discussion Topics/Question:
In an actual situation in your instructor's community, an inmate of the county jail engaged in fraud by enticing elderly people from all over the United States into "investing" money into a bogus company he claimed to own.  Under your state laws, what crime(s) have been committed, what evidence would be found and how should this be investigated?
Read Application situation A on page 384 (page 404 of the 6th edition) and provide answers to the two questions posed.  How serious would you view this screw-up?  What measures could be taken to prevent this in the future?
In what ways are arson and bombing investigations the same or different?  What additional measures, if any, are needed for bomb investigations?
Using the concept of White Collar Crime as found in the text, what do you consider the most dangerous form and why?  Provide supportive reasoning for your choice.

Week 7: Computer Crime, Organized Crime/Cults and Gangs

Text: Review Chapters 16, 17 and 18.  
Class Activities: Review for Final Exam under "Final Exam Review" button.
Weekly Discussion Topics/Question:
What do you consider the most significant challenges to investigating computer crimes?
Is it necessary that official corruption be present in a community for organized crime to be active?
What do you see as the future of computer crime?  What types do you believe will increase or decrease?  Provide supportive reasons for your statements.

Week 8: Terrorist Groups, Drugs and Court Preparation

Text: Chapters 19 and 20
Class Activities: All students take final exam this week.  
Weekly Discussion Topics/Question:
Do you feel that the Patriot Act is justified in our war on terrorism, or is it an unwarranted erosion of the Bill of Rights?
What would you see as the differences between a "gang" and a "cult?"
What would you see as the differences between terrorist groups and gangs or cults?
Work through Application B, the LET Challenge, starting on page 510 (page 517 in the 6th edition), providing answers to the questions posed.  E-mail your instructor your answers along with explanations of why you chose as you did.

Academic Honesty:
Academic integrity is the foundation of the academic community. Because each student has the primary responsibility for being academically honest, students are advised to read and understand all sections of this policy relating to standards of conduct and academic life.   Park University 2005-2006 Undergraduate Catalog Page 85-87

Plagiarism involves the use of quotations without quotation marks, the use of quotations without indication of the source, the use of another's idea without acknowledging the source, the submission of a paper, laboratory report, project, or class assignment (any portion of such) prepared by another person, or incorrect paraphrasing. Park University 2005-2006 Undergraduate Catalog Page 85-87

Attendance Policy:
Instructors are required to maintain attendance records and to report absences via the online attendance reporting system.

  1. The instructor may excuse absences for valid reasons, but missed work must be made up within the semester/term of enrollment.
  2. Work missed through unexcused absences must also be made up within the semester/term of enrollment, but unexcused absences may carry further penalties.
  3. In the event of two consecutive weeks of unexcused absences in a semester/term of enrollment, the student will be administratively withdrawn, resulting in a grade of "WH".
  4. A "Contract for Incomplete" will not be issued to a student who has unexcused or excessive absences recorded for a course.
  5. Students receiving Military Tuition Assistance or Veterans Administration educational benefits must not exceed three unexcused absences in the semester/term of enrollment. Excessive absences will be reported to the appropriate agency and may result in a monetary penalty to the student.
  6. Report of a "F" grade (attendance or academic) resulting from excessive absence for those students who are receiving financial assistance from agencies not mentioned in item 5 above will be reported to the appropriate agency.
ONLINE NOTE: An attendance report of "P" (present) will be recorded for students who have logged in to the Online classroom at least once during each week of the term. Recording of attendance is not equivalent to participation. Participation grades will be assigned by each instructor according to the criteria in the Grading Policy section of the syllabus.

Park University 2005-2006 Undergraduate Catalog Page 89

Disability Guidelines:
Park University is committed to meeting the needs of all students that meet the criteria for special assistance. These guidelines are designed to supply directions to students concerning the information necessary to accomplish this goal. It is Park University's policy to comply fully with federal and state law, including Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, regarding students with disabilities. In the case of any inconsistency between these guidelines and federal and/or state law, the provisions of the law will apply. Additional information concerning Park University's policies and procedures related to disability can be found on the Park University web page: .


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Last Updated:5/22/2006 11:16:25 AM