Law Enforcement

Introduction to Law Enforcement

Course Description and Objectives:

This course introduces students to the scholarly study of law enforcement from a multidisciplinary, liberal arts perspective. Students will be afforded the opportunity to become familiar with the fundamental principles of the structure and function of law enforcement agencies in the United States. The course emphasizes the institutional and occupational aspects of law enforcement across municipal, state, and federal levels to include methods, issues, and problems. We will examine the interaction between policing and the general public, and explore how policing affects society, and in turn how society affects policing. The goal of this course will be to introduce different aspects of law enforcement and policing, and encourage you to think critically about various law enforcement institutions, processes, practices and critical issues prevalent in our society.

Course Evaluation

Exams: Three exams will be administered. The first exam will be on February 3rd, the second exam will be on March 17th, and the third exam will be on April 21st. Exams will consist of 30 multiple choice questions worth two points each, and two essay questions worth 20 points each, for a total of 100 points. The exams will cover all topics discussed up to the date of the exam including readings from the text, lectures, and in-class activities. The final exam is non-cumulative. Note that even though the readings from the text may not be covered in class, you are still responsible for knowing this material!

You will have an entire class period to complete each exam. You should not arrive late. Late arrivals will not be given any extra time to complete the exam, and by arriving late, you are disrupting the concentration of your classmates.

Paper: During this term, you will be responsible for writing a single paper. The paper is worth 15% of your grade. For this paper you will be asked either: to complete two ride-alongs with a local law enforcement agency of your choice or to attend two sessions of misdemeanor court, juvenile court, or traffic court (this may be a morning and afternoon session on the same date). This will be a reaction type paper that asks you to critically integrate what you have learned in this course with your experience of choice, and provide an educated analysis of the material relevant to the topic in question. A grading rubric will be provided.

Make Ups: Make-up exams are not typically given. If advanced arrangements are not made, documentation for the reason for the absence must be provided within 48 hours of the exam date. If there is a medical reason for missing the test, official documentation with dates of services rendered must be submitted. Make-up exams will be scheduled during the instructor's office hours, and will not be in the same format as the in-class exam.

Attendance and Participation: Due to the design of the course, it is essential that you regularly attend. Reading assignments for each unit will be provided at the beginning of every lecture, and posted on webCT. It is imperative that you read prior to class, as your participation in discussion will be evaluated as part of your participation grade. Throughout the course I will randomly check attendance by assigning either an in-class writing assignment or a group project of some sort. Lack of attendance, participation assignments and group projects cannot be made up at a later date. Fridays are the discussion sections for critical issues in policing. Attendance will be recorded for each discussion section, so plan on attending. If you wish to attend a section other than the one you are enrolled in, you may do so, but you must let your instructor know beforehand. You will get three “freebees” that will be dropped from your grade at the end of the semester. This is to account for legitimate reasons for missing class - i.e., illness, doctor's appointments, etc. You are responsible for getting any notes and/or class assignments from your fellow classmates should you need to miss class. Participation is worth 15% of your final grade.

Homework: Other projects and homework will be assigned sporadically throughout the semester, and will make up 10% of your grade.

Grading: Grades will be determined from your grades on a combination of exams and assignments:

Exam One 20 % (100 pts)

Exam Two 20% (100 pts)

Exam Three 20% (100 pts)

Writing Assignment 15% (75 pts)

Participation 15% (75 pts)

Homework 10% (50 pts)

(A 90-100, B+ 87-89, B 80-86, C+ 77-79, C 70-76, D+ 67-69, D 60-66, F <60)

Academic Dishonesty: The very nature of higher education requires that students adhere to accepted standards of academic integrity. On all work submitted, the following statement is implied: “On my honor, I have neither given nor received unauthorized aid in doing this assignment.” Valuing the importance of academic honesty and integrity within higher education and in accordance with the University of Florida Code of Student Conduct, I will not tolerate any academic dishonesty. For more on Academic Honesty guidelines, please see the Student Guide at

Classroom Behavior: Students are expected to be courteous to others in the class, including the instructor. Electronics including cell phones (or ringers), pagers and Ipods should be off before entering the classroom. Above all, do not answer your phone or text during class. Be respectful, be attentive, arrive on time, and if you plan to leave the classroom before class is over, you need to tell me at the beginning of class.

Students with Disabilities: I am available to discuss appropriate academic accommodations that you may require as a student with a disability. Request for academic accommodations need to be made during the first week of the semester (except for unusual circumstances) so that arrangements can be made. You must first register with the Dean of Students Office ( so that appropriate accommodations may be made.

Important Dates and Semester Schedule: A proposed semester schedule is attached. We will try to adhere to this schedule. However, we may need to make changes to accommodate guest speakers, etc. If you miss a class, you are responsible for finding out if any dates have been changed. This is a list of the topics we will likely be covering in the class, the due dates of reading assignments, and the dates that major assignments/in-class exercises will be due/held. In addition to the readings assigned for each class, supplemental readings may be handed out in class or posted on the web. These will be announced in class.

Proposed Schedule



Important Event

January 6

Introduction/ syllabus

Chapter 1: Origins and Evolution of Policing

January 13

Chapter 2: Policing in the American Context

Information Card Due

Controversial Issues: Debate 15 p237-247

January 20

Chapter 3: Police and the Criminal Justice System

January 27

Chapter 4: Law Enforcement Agencies and Their Organization

Controversial issues: Debate 9 p139-153

February 3

Exam 1

February 10

Chapter 5: Becoming a Cop

Controversial issues: Debate 5 p 69-87

February 17

Chapter 6: Police Subculture

Controversial issues: Debate 10 p 154-171

February 24

Chapter 9: Intelligence Information, and Special Problems

Controversial Issues - Debate 4 p. 58-68

March 3

Chapter 10 : Community Policing and Community Involvement

Controversial Issues: Debate 13 p 206-223

March 10

SPRING BREAK - no class

March 17

Exam II

March 24

Chapter 13: Police Discretion and Behavior

March 31

Chapter 14: The Use of Force

April 7

Controversial Issues: Debate 14 p 224-236

Paper DUE

April 14

Chapter 16: The Future of Policing

April 21

Exam III

Administrative Information

This syllabus is provided for your information and may change as deemed necessary. All changes to the syllabus will be announced during class time and will be posted on webCT.

Student contact information:

1. Name: ________________________________ E-mail: _______________________________

Phone: ________________________________

2. Name: ________________________________ E-mail: _______________________________

Phone: ________________________________

3. Name: ________________________________ E-mail: _______________________________

Phone: ________________________________

Information Card

Spring 2010


Name ___________________________________

Expected graduation date __________________

Major: _________________________________

Occupational Goals: _______________________


Hometown _______________________________

What do you think you will be doing five years from now? __________________________

Favorite thing to do in your spare time _________________________________________

Write something here that you would like your instructor to know about you ____________


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