CJ311 Criminal Investigation

for S1T 2011

Printer Friendly

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


S1T 2011 DLA


Scheffner, Douglas W.


Senior Adjunct Faculty


MPA, University of Missouri
BA, Park University

Office Hours

Monday-Friday, 6:00 pm - 10:00 pm

Daytime Phone


Other Phone





Semester Dates

January 10, 2011- March 6, 2011

Class Days


Class Time


Credit Hours



Criminal Investigation, 9th Edition

Authors: Kären M. Hess and Christine Hess Orthmann (2010)
ISBN: 978-1-4354-6993-8

Additional Resources:

McAfee Memorial Library - Online information, links, electronic databases and the Online catalog. Contact the library for further assistance via email or at 800-270-4347.
Career Counseling - The Career Development Center (CDC) provides services for all stages of career development.  The mission of the CDC is to provide the career planning tools to ensure a lifetime of career success.
Park Helpdesk - If you have forgotten your OPEN ID or Password, or need assistance with your PirateMail account, please email helpdesk@park.edu or call 800-927-3024
Resources for Current Students - A great place to look for all kinds of information http://www.park.edu/Current/.
Advising - Park University would like to assist you in achieving your educational goals. Please contact your Campus Center for advising or enrollment adjustment information.
Online Classroom Technical Support - For technical assistance with the Online classroom, email helpdesk@parkonline.org or call the helpdesk at 866-301-PARK (7275). To see the technical requirements for Online courses, please visit the http://parkonline.org website, and click on the "Technical Requirements" link, and click on "BROWSER Test" to see if your system is ready.
FAQ's for Online Students - You might find the answer to your questions here.

Course Description:
CJ311 Criminal Investigation: This intermediate course includes a discussion of the nature and purpose of criminal investigation, historical background, tools employed, skills development, and techniques useful in the reconstruction of criminal activity. Prerequisites: CJ100 and CJ105. 3:0:3

Learning Outcomes:
  Core Learning Outcomes

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

  Instructor Learning Outcomes
  1. Develop improved communications skills through interactive discourse and preparation of written reports or constructing papers in specific formats.
  2. Recognize significant contributors and movements within the field of criminal investigations.
  3. Analyze pros and cons of differing investigative techniques by comparing against Constitutional and criminal law as well as societal expectations of moral actions.
Core Assessment:

For CJ311, all students will complete an essay, not less than 4 pages (1,000 words) in length (excluding the cover sheet, title, and bibliography pages) as follows:

            It can be argued that the foundation for community support for law enforcement is in the trust built by faith that the police follow the law and adhere to the U.S. Constitution. For example, criminal investigative questioning must be guided by Fourth Amendment search and seizure protections. Harsh or questionable investigative methods may be unethical and illegal. 

            Discuss whether the concern for homeland security has redefined acceptable or ethical criminal investigative tactics used by law enforcement. Explain what impact changes in criminal investigative techniques and methods may have on police-community relations, criminal prosecutions, and the ability of police to investigate major crimes.

            The essay should be typed, double-spaced, be written in APA format, including in-text source citations, and use a minimum of 4 course-external sources.

Link to Class Rubric

Class Assessment:

Each week, students are required to engage in discussion among themselves by answering and commenting upon questions posed for that week.  Each week's discussion is worth 20 points, with 1-10 provided for content and 1-10 points provided for timeliness and substantive quality and quantity of replies to other students' postings.  Spelling, grammar and punctuation is counted as part of this grade. As a general rule, simple replies like "good comment" or "I agree" do not count as substantive.  Instead, you will be expected to provide personal viewpoints or pose significant questions to other students. As a minimum, at least four substantive discussion postings should be submitted each week. 

Weeks 1, 2, 4 and 6 require a paper which provides the students opportunities to apply material learned from reading, virtual lecture and discussions.  Each paper carries a maximum of 100 points.   These papers must be at least 750 words and written in APA format.

During weeks 1, 3, 5 and 7 you will not have a paper due, but will instead take a timed quiz.

Please note that weeks 2, 4 and 6 have quizzes, but these are not part of your grade; they are only for your practice.

During the eighth week, a proctored final exam will be taken by the student which will combine multiple choices with short answer questions.  Students will also complete a Core Assessment paper which will be graded on a scale of 100 points. This paper is to be in APA format, and shall be not less than 1000 words in length. In this paper, you must use at least four sources of material that is not from the text or course lectures, and must be cited within the body of the paper. 


The grading scale is as follows:

A = 90-100;
B = 80-89;
C = 70-79;
D = 60-69;
F = 0-59.

The final exam will count 20% of your total grade, weekly discussion presentations will count 2.5% each week for a total of 20% of your course grade; quizzes count 2.5% each for a total of 10% of the course grade; Week 1’s and Week 6’s paper is worth 2.5%, Week 2 and Week 4’s papers are worth 5% for a total of 15% of the total course grade.  In Week 8, the CORE paper will be worth 30% of your overall grade. A grading chart is included to show the relative weights of each week’s work.


Each student is responsible for:
Completing weekly Reading assignments.
Completing Weekly Discussion Questions and posting discussion questions or comments to other student’s discussion answers.
Completing four writing assignments, referred to as Papers.                                                    
Completing a CORE paper in Week 8
Completing a proctored Final Examination

Late Submission of Course Materials:
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 points reduction for each week late.

Classroom Rules of Conduct:

Policy #1:  Submission of Work:

A class week is defined as the period of time between Monday 12:01 am MST and Sunday at 11:59 PM MST. The first week begins the first day of the term/semester. Assignments scheduled for completion during a class week should be completed and successfully submitted by the posted due date.
Create a back up file of every piece of work you submit for grading. This will ensure that a computer glitch or a glitch in cyberspace won't erase your efforts.
When files are sent attached to an email, the files should be in either Microsoft Word, RTF, ASCII, txt, or PDF file formats.
Policy #2: Ground Rules for Online Communication & Participation

General email: Students should use email for private messages to the instructor and other students. When sending email other than assignments, you must identify yourself fully by name and class in all email sent to your instructor and/or other members of our class.
Online threaded discussions: are public messages and all writings in this area will be viewable by the entire class or assigned group members.
Online Instructor Response Policy:  I will check my email frequently and will respond to course-related questions within 24-48 hours.
Observation of "Netiquette": All your Online communications need to be composed with fairness, honesty and tact.  Spelling and grammar are very important in an Online course.  What you put into an Online course reflects on your level of professionalism.  Here are a couple of Online references that discuss writing Online http://goto.intwg.com/ and netiquette http://www.albion.com/netiquette/corerules.html.
Please check the Announcements area before you ask general course "housekeeping" questions (i.e. how do I submit assignment 3?).  If you don't see your question there, then please contact me.  
Policy #3: What to do if you experience technical problems or have questions about the Online classroom.  

If you experience computer difficulties (need help downloading a browser or plug-in, you need help logging into the course, or if you experience any errors or problems while in your Online course, click on the  button in your Online Classroom, then click on the helpdesk menu item, and then fill out the form or call the helpdesk for assistance.  
If the issue is preventing you from submitting or completing any coursework, contact me immediately.

Course Topic/Dates/Assignments:

Week 1:  January 10 - January 16, 2011 - The Requirements for Criminal Investigation

Primary Learning Objectives for this week:

Recognize the goals, stages and elements of a proper investigation;

Understand and explain what characteristics are most important in an effective investigator;

Describe the steps taken in crime scene containment and explain its importance;

Identify means of protecting against lawsuits;

Explain the elements of effective crime report note-taking;

Describe the elements of proper crime scene documentation through photography, videography and sketches and know the relative advantages and disadvantages of each;

Describe the elements of an effective police report;

Explain who prepares and who uses police reports and in what ways they are used.

Text: Chapters 1, 2 and 3
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 common might it be for detectives working a similar case to write reports with differing information? What might be the reason and how should this be handled?


 Review attached documents found in the Doc Sharing tab. First read the notes taken by an officer, and then read the report submitted by that same officer. Based off your text’s information, determine if the report fails in any regards and indicate any errors you find by highlighting and inserting comment on the error.

Week 2:  January 17 - January 23, 2011 - Searches and Physical Evidence

Primary Learning Objectives for this week:

Identify the correct procedures for an effective investigative search as well as its purposes;

Describe the legal constraints on investigative searches as well as legal exceptions to those constraints and ancillary doctrines;

Explain and recognize landmark cases regarding searches;

Describe various methods of collecting, packaging, transporting and testing physical evidence;

Identify the most common forms of physical evidence found, understand the difference between class evidence and individual evidence and explain how each form falls within one of the two classifications.

Text: Study Chapters 4 and 5
Applicable assigned web-site reading:  http://www.usdoj.gov/oig/special/9704a/index.htm; http://www.dna.gov/; http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/; http://www.denverda.org; http://txdps.state.tx.us/  

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:

After reading the material on the last four web sites above, discuss what police officers and crime scene technicians should know about DNA and whether either group has more responsibilities that the other in understanding this evidence.

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:  January 24 - January 30, 2011 - Obtaining information and Arrests

Primary Learning Objectives for this week:

Recognize the difference and goals of interrogation and interviewing

Discuss barriers to communications and what enhances good communications in interviewing and interrogating;

Explain the legal restrictions on interrogating and understand the major landmark cases that define and provide legal exceptions to the basic laws;

Explain the difference between direct and indirect questions and define when either might be used effectively;

Identify the legalities of questioning juveniles;

Name the types of surveillance and their advantages and disadvantages;

Describe how suspects are developed;

Recognize the legal and physical differences between field identification, show-up identification and line-up identification;

Identify the legal requirements of arrest and discuss the legal liabilities;

Identify the limits of use of force in making arrest.

Text: Chapters Chapters 6 and 7.

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/Questions:
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?


No paper this week, take timed quiz.

Week 4:  January 31 - February 6, 2011 - Death Investigation, Assaults and Sexual Offenses

Primary Learning Objectives for this week:

Outline the four categories of death;

Define and classify homicide, murder and manslaughter;

Identify the differences between criminal and non-criminal homicide;

Identify the different categories and degrees of murder and manslaughter;

Explain the special problems encountered with death investigations;

Recognize physical evidence that can contribute to identifying unknown dead, time of death and indicators of criminal actions in death investigations;

Identify and articulate the elements of the different types of assault;

Differentiate between domestic violence and other types of assault;

Identify the different types of sexual offenses and how they differ from sexual assault;

Explain the types of evidence normally found in sexual offenses.

Text: Chapters Chapters 8, 9 and 10.

Weekly Discussion Topics/Questions:
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 289 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:  February 7 - February 13, 2011 - Crimes Against Children, Robbery, Burglary

Primary Learning Objectives for this week:

Identify and describe the common types of crimes against children;

Define the causes and effects of child abuse and child neglect, and differentiate between the two;

Explain the challenges involved in investigating crimes against children;

Describe the legal and technical aspects of interviewing or questioning child victims;

Describe the types of sexual offenders against minors and their general behavior;

Define and describe the elements of the different types of robbery and how they differ from the crime of burglary;

Explain the various challenges to investigating robberies;

Identify types of evidence commonly found in robbery investigations;

Explain the basic classifications of burglaries and the elements of each type, and what determines differences in severity;

Explain the elements of the crime of possession of burglary tools and how to prove the elements;

Describe the elements of the crime of receiving stolen goods.

Text: Chapters 11, 12 and 13
Applicable assigned web-site reading:  http://www.lectlaw.com/files/cri15.htm; http://www.msbp.com/

Weekly Discussion Topics/Questions:
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 416 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.


No paper this week; take timed quiz.

Week 6:  February 14 - February 20, 2011 - Fraud and White-collar Crime, Motor Vehicle Theft and Arson/Bombings

Primary Learning Objectives for this week:

Differentiate larceny from the crimes of burglary and robbery;

Compare the major categories of larceny and describe the elements that must be proven;

Define how fraud differs from other forms of theft and describe the common forms of fraud;

Describe white-collar crime and how it differs from other forms of crime;

Explain what a VIN is and its significance in auto theft investigation;

Identify the five major categories of motor vehicle theft;

Describe the types of vehicles commonly involved in motor vehicle theft;

Explain what other agencies can assist in motor vehicle theft investigation;

Describe how fires are classified;

Identify the elements of the crime of arson, and differentiate between various types or categories of the crime;

Describe special challenges that exist in investigating arson or bombing crimes;

Explain the normal actions of fire growth and indicate what elements indicate the possibility of arson;

Identify the differences between bombings and arson and special challenges to bombings that differ from arson.

Text: Chapters 14, 15 and 16


Weekly Discussion Topics/Questions:
Read Application situation A on page 472  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:  February 21 - February 27, 2011 - Computer Crime, Organized Crime/Cults and Gangs and Drug Investigations

Primary Learning Objectives for this week:

Identify the key characteristics of computer crime;

Explain how computer crime can be categorized;

Describe the special challenges presented in investigating computer-based crimes;

Describe what forms of electronic evidence may be present in computer-based crime investigation and identify precautions to take in handling such evidence;

Define how cybercriminals can be categorized and discuss the motivations and characteristics of cybercriminals;

Explain how drugs are commonly classified both by their actions and by legal definitions;

Discuss the techniques involved in good investigation and arrests in drug-related crimes;

Define the special precautions needed in drug investigations, searches, surveillance and raids;

Explain the distinctive characteristics of organized crime and its major activities;

Discuss what agencies work together in investigating drug offenses and organized crime;

Define the general categories and types of street gangs;

Explain the usual activities of gangs and discuss the special problems to investigating gangs;

Differentiate hate/bias crime from other forms of violent crimes;

Define cults versus gangs and explain what types of acts frequently occur with these groups;

Describe the nature of ritualistic crimes, indicators of such crime and special problems to investigating them.

Text: Review Chapters 17, 18 and 19  

Class Activities: Review for Final Exam under "Final Exam Review" button.

Weekly Discussion Topics/Questions:
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?


No paper this week, take timed quiz.

Week 8:  February 28 - March 6, 2011 -Terrorist Groups, and Court Preparation

Primary Learning Objectives for this week:

Describe how terrorism is most commonly defined and classified;

Describe actions commonly used by terrorist organizations;

Identify domestic terrorist groups and their motivations;

Describe how the USE PATRIOT Act enhances counterterrorism efforts by the United States;

Describe the usual sequence of events in a criminal trial;

Describe the role of prosecutor and what pretrial conferences are;

Explain why some cases are not prosecuted;

Describe how to effectively prepare for court and how to reduce objections to testimony;

Define what defense attorney tactics to expect.

Text: Chapters 20 and 21
Class Activities: All students take final exam this week.  

Weekly Discussion Topics/Questions:
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?

Core Assessment Paper: See instructions and topic above.

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 students and faculty members are encouraged to take advantage of the University resources available for learning about academic honesty (www.park.edu/current or http://www.park.edu/faculty/).from Park University 2010-2011 Undergraduate Catalog Page 92

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. from Park University 2010-2011 Undergraduate Catalog Page 92-93
Academic honesty is required of all members of the learning community.  Many of you aspire to criminal justice careers and the expectation of professional honesty and integrity is both expected and rigidly enforced.  Hence, neither the college nor I will tolerate cheating or plagiarism on examinations, papers or other course assignments.  Students who engage in such dishonesty should expect to receive failing grades and possible expulsion from Park University.  Plagiarism is sometimes the act of carelessness or ignorance.  This does not, however, make it less serious.  One of the most frequent offenses occur with information taken electronically from internet sites.  Be aware that I do check sources.  If I find any form of plagiarism, the minimum result will be a grade of 0% on that work.  If I believe it to have been a deliberate or flagrant act, I may fail the student for the course and may additionally recommend expulsion from Park University.  If you have any questions in this regard please see me.

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 "F".
  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 2010-2011 Undergraduate Catalog Page 95-96

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: http://www.park.edu/disability .

Incident Report

Investigative Report


CompetencyExceeds Expectation (3)Meets Expectation (2)Does Not Meet Expectation (1)No Evidence (0)
1 & 2                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                
Appraises the sources into congruous and thoughtful conclusions - thoughtful implies some original thinking. Appraises the sources into congruous conclusions. Evaluation is weak. Evaluation is not present. 
1 & 2                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                
Combines researched material into a consistent whole; extends research well beyond minimum requirements. Combines researched material into a consistent whole. Researched material is presented but not into a consistent whole. No evidence of combining researched material into a consistent whole. 
1 & 2                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                
Analyzes key elements using 4 or more course-external sources. Analyzes key elements using at least 3 sources. Analyzes key elements using less than 3 sources. Analysis is not supported by any source material or no evidence of analysis is present. 
1 & 2                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                
The essay shows multiple instances and exceptional understanding of terminology and concepts specific to the course core learning outcomes throughout. The essay shows sufficient and satisfactory use of terminology and concepts specific to the course core learning outcomes throughout. The essay shows minimal use of terminology and concepts specific to the course core learning outcomes throughout. The essay fails to demonstrate an understanding of terminology and concepts specific to the course core learning outcomes. 
Content of Communication                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   
1 & 2                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                
Essay conveys complete and exceptional information on investigative techniques used in courts and specific methods for investigating major crimes. Essay conveys sufficient information on investigative techniques used in courts and specific methods for investigating major crimes. Essay conveys minimal information on investigative techniques used in courts and/or specific methods for investigating major crimes. Essay conveys no information on investigative techniques used in courts or specific methods for investigating major crimes. 
Technical Skill in Communicating                                                                                                                                                                                                                           
1 & 2                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                
Essay contains all required technical components: 4 pages in length (excluding required cover sheet, title page, and bibliography), typed, double-spaced.   Written in APA Style, including in-text source citations.  Contains fewer than five grammatical or spelling errors. Essay contains most required technical components.  Contains more than five grammatical or spelling errors but errors do not detract from understanding. Written in APA Style, but may have a few formatting errors. Essay contains few required technical components.  Contains more than five grammatical or spelling errors that detract from understanding. APA Style usage is barely evident. Essay contains no required technical components. There are so many errors in the APA writing convention, in the paper presentation, or in grammar and/or spelling that it is difficult to read. 


This material is protected by copyright
                               and can not be reused without author permission.

Last Updated:1/1/2011 3:43:11 PM