Criminal Justice 2 Principles of Investigations - CTE Online Model

by Jay Crawford

Students learn the principles of investigations both criminal, civi, background and internal. The course includes securing crime scenes, identifying and analyzing evidence, interviewing victims, witnesses and suspects and how to obtain search warrants as well as under what circumstances a legal search may be conducted without a search warrant. It moves into investigative techniques for specific types of crimes and issues such as robbery, homicide, battery, grand theft, burglary, arson and traffic violations such as speeding, hit and run and driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Elder and child abuse as well as officer involved shootings are also examined.

From CALPADS: Intermediate Public Safety (Concentration)

This course includes intermediate academic and skill development courses that describe the role of specific careers in Public Safety, including of science in solving crimes using an evidence-based system. Topics could include the history and role of the agency, laboratory and scientific evidence, processing evidence, establishing hypotheses and drawing conclusions. Students will also explore various career opportunities for decision making to move onto advanced coursework.

Program Information
CTE Certification Elements
Standards
California English Common Core Standards (13)
California's 2013 CTE Standards (39)
Next Generation Science Standards (23)
California's 2008 CTE Standards (25)
California Academic Content Standards (11)
Competencies / Outcomes

The student will:

  • Learn the elements of petty theft, grand theft, burglary, vandalism, arson, robbery, assault, battery, assault with a deadly weapon and homicide and apply the information to solve various scenarios.
  • Learn how to conduct investigations into the above crimes as well as domestic violence and various traffic code violations such as hit and run and driving under the influence.
  • Learn how to write and obtain a search warrant.
  • Student will demonstrate the above by writing a valid search warrant.
  • Learn under what circumstances a search and seizure may be conducted without a search warrant.
  • Understand the steps in securing a crime scene, searching it and recovering evidence.
  • Given a simulated crime scene, students will secure and process it documenting the process by writing a crime report.
  • Explain how DNA, hair, fingerprints and blood spatter are analyzed and what these types of evidence can reveal.
  • Be able to explain how an Internal Affairs investigation is conducted as well as how the 5th Amendment, court decisions such as Lybarger v Los Angeles and various California Government Code sections affect the conduct of these investigations.
  • Be able to explain the purpose of background investigations, techniques and their limitations.
Units

Criminal Law - Specific Crimes

Unit Overview:

All crimes are composed of elements that must be proven to exist in order to substantiate that a specific crime occurred. The evidence that is discovered during the investigation needs to be evaluated fairly to see if it supports the conclusion that the person to be arrested is the person who committed the crime. This must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt or the person must be considered not guilty. In looking for evidence it is just as important to examine exculpatory evidence as it is to analyze incriminating evidence. Otherwise, the investigation is biased and invalid. This unit examines specific crimes and their elements as well as how to locate and analyze the necessary evidence.

Lesson Plans to be written:

  • Basic Property Crimes: i.e. Petty Theft, Grand Theft, Burglary, Vandalism and Arson
  • Robbery
  • Basic Crimes Against the Person: i.e. Assault, Battery, Brandishing a Firearm
  • Intense Crimes Against the Person: Assault with a Deadly Weapon, Homicide


Search and Seizure: How to get a Search Warrant

Unit Overview:

A basic tenet of our society is that government intrusion must be limited in scope and only committed when reasonable and necessary. This is expressed in the 4th amendment which says, "The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized." This unit explains the search warrant process:

  • How is a search warrant obtained?
  • How to write a search warrant - what is the format and what information must it contain?
  • How do you serve a search warrant - when do they expire, what times may a search warrant be legally served, how do you document what materials have been seized, where do the seized items get stored and how are they ultimately disposed of?

Search and Seizure: Exceptions to the Search Warrant Requirement

Unit Overview:

Normally, a search that is conducted without a search warrant is considered to be unreasonable, however, the courts have defined circumstances where a search may be conducted without a search warrant. This unit explains what a search is and when it may be conducted without a warrant.

Lesson Plans to be written:

  • What Constitutes a Search and Seizure
  • Searching With Consent
  • Searching Incident to Arrest
  • Emergency Searches
  • Abandoned Property
  • Search Incident to Arrest
  • Vehicle SearchesClassroom: 1 hour per class.

Crime Scene Investigation and Processing

Unit Overview:

Once it is determined that a search can be conducted legally, consideration must be given to how to conduct it effectively, efficiently and in a manner that the evidence can analyzed fairly. Finally, the degree of detail must be great enough that the crime scene may be recreated later. This unit provides the students with the "nuts and bolts" of how to search a crime scene, how to recover evidence and how to document the entire process.

Criminal Investigations - Preliminary Investigations and Specific Crimes

Unit Overview:

There are two stages to any investigation. The first is the preliminary investigation; the immediate investigation that takes place when the crime is discovered. The follow-up investigation is that portion of the investigation that fleshes out the information that was initially discovered. This unit looks at the first stage, the preliminary investigation. How do you respond to a crime, secure the scene, identify the victims, witnesses and suspects and arrange for the scene to be processed for evidence (or process it yourself). How do you interview the victims and witnesses? When and how do you legally interrogate the suspect? In the portions of this unit that examines specific events such as robbery, homicide and officer-involved shootings, additional attention is given to facets of the investigation that are different than other types of investigations. For example:

  • What additional roles may be played by the district attorney in an officer involved shooting?
  • When is a gunshot residue test administered?
  • What is different about an administrative investigation versus a criminal investigation that may be conducted simultaneously?

Lesson Plans to be written:

  • Robbery
  • Homicide
  • Officer-Involved Shooting

Internal Affairs Investigations

Unit Overview:

In this unit the students learn how to conduct an internal affairs investigation. These investigations are more complex than other types of investigations. They have to take into account the United States Constitution's Bill of Rights, court decisions such as Lybarger v City of Los Angeles that discuss the conditions under which an officer may be compelled to give a statement despite the apparent protections of the 5th amendment, and California Government code Sections 3300 through 3313 that cover, among other things, how an internal investigation's interrogation must take place.

Lesson Plans to be written:

  • Interviewing the Complainant and Witnesses
  • Interviewing the Officer in Accordance with the Peace Officer's Procedural Bill of Rights: Government Code Sections 3300 through 3313 Inclusive

Background Investigations

Unit Overview:

The student learns how to conduct a background investigation. Background investigations that are conducted when processing a police officer candidate for hire are significantly different that either criminal investigations or internal affairs investigations. In a criminal or internal affairs investigation the detective is looking for evidence of a crime or a violation of departmental policy. There is usually one specific event that initiates the call for the investigation. Background Investigations examine whether the candidate can be trusted with the responsibilities of a police officer. Integrity, dependability, accountability, judgement and bias are examined by looking into the applicants background. Does the applicant pay his bills, does he have a reparation of truthfulness, has the applicant ever been named in a civil suit, does the applicant abuse drugs or alcohol are just a few of the questions that are asked. The answers may be found by interviewing, not just the provided references, but also family members, co-workers, neighbors, creditors, landlords, as well as educational and medical institutions.

Lesson Plans to be written:

  • Investigating Integrity, Impulse Control and Substance Abuse
  • Documenting Work Habits Including Dependability, Accountability and Conscientiousness
  • Investigating Decision-Making, Judgement and Bias

Report Writing – Documenting an Investigation

Unit Overview:

Students learn how to document their investigations; how to clearly write up a complex investigation involving victims, witnesses, suspects, police officers, evidence, stolen property and the searching of vehicles, houses, businesses and other areas?

Lesson Plans to be written:

  • Writing a Police Report
  • Writing a Report of Investigation
  • Writing an Internal Affairs Report

Traffic Accident Investigations

Unit Overview:

Lesson Plans to be written:

  • Accident Scene Management and Documentation
  • Collision Related Evidence and Analysis
  • Interviewing Accident Victims, Witnesses and Suspects
  • Determining the Cause of a Collision (Speed for Conditions, Right-of-Way, Impaired Driving, Equipment Failure)

Traffic Enforcement

Unit Overview:

The enforcement of traffic laws are discussed here. What is required for a preliminary investigation into these events and what is required in the way of follow-up investigations. The various traffic code sections are examined, the elements of the crimes are laid out and techniques for proving, or disproving, the allegations are explained. For example, how is the speed of a vehicle determined from the skid marks that are left at the scene of an accident? How does a police officer determine the speed of a vehicle he is observing when he, or she, does not have a radar gun? What laws must a pedestrian or a bicyclist obey? The student will learn these techniques as well as others that are employed in traffic law enforcement.

Lesson Plans to be written:

  • Investigating Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol and/or Drugs
  • Hit and Run Investigations
  • Traffic Control Devices
  • Speed for Conditions
  • Pedestrian and Bicycle Laws

Investigating Child and Elder Abuse

Unit Overview:

These crimes may be committed by criminal action or criminal neglect. The students will learn how to discern when a child or elderly person is being abused. They will learn about the physical and emotional trauma that takes place, how the acts or neglect occurs, where evidence may be located, when a location can be entered to protect a minor, who the mandated child abuse reporters are, how those reports are made and what resources are available for the victims.

Lesson Plans to be written:

  • Applicable Laws
  • Recognizing Signs of Abuse
  • Entry to Protect Minors
  • Mandated Child Abuse Reporters
  • Resources for the Victims

Physical Fitness – Endurance and Obstacle Course

Unit Overview:

Being in good physical condition is essential whether an officer's task is in patrol, corrections or investigations. Evidence may be located on rooftops, it may require dismantling a vehicle, lifting heavy objects, or walking for extensive distances not to mention the fact that suspects will occasionally be violent. In this unit the students examine when these types of physical stress may take place and practice toning and conditioning themselves to handle the physical requirements of the job.

Lesson Plans to be written:

  • Physical Fitness – Strength, Endurance, Agility

Substitute Lesson Plans

Super-empowering Your Substitute:

This is a series of lesson plans that are designed for teachers to use when they require a substitute. The activities will be easily modified to meet needs in either forensic science or law enforcement; however, the thinking behind the activities will allow any teacher to adapt them to their discipline.

Lesson 1: Developing a Personal Glossary
Lesson 2: Spelling Dictionary
Lesson 3: Common Legal Terms
Lesson 4: Rules of the Road