Criminal Justice 3 Capstone CTE Online Model

by Jay Crawford

CTE Online Criminal Justice Section has three courses that build upon each other. The first presents and overview of the criminal justice system and introduces basic skills to the students. The second fleshes out those skills by focusing on investigating specific types of crime. In this, the capstone course, the students learn some of the finer, more advanced skills and how to apply what he, or she, has learned in all three courses. An emphasis is placed on ethics, leadership and working with the community.

Program Information
Course Certification Elements
California's 2013 CTE Standards (6)
California English Common Core Standards (2)
California's 2008 CTE Standards (7)
California Academic Content Standards (7)
Competencies / Outcomes

The student will:

  1. Be able to explain the concept of "reasonable force."
  2. Be able to outline a "use of force continuum" or progression of force options beginning at verbal persuasion. 
  3. Given a scenario, be able to select a use of force option and write a report documenting the hypothetical use of force.
  4. Be able to explain the necessity for honesty and integrity in assuming a position as a leader.
  5. Be able to explain the critical need for a leader to be an effective communicator.  
  6. Given a scenario, be able to demonstrate effective delegation in order to complete a mission.
  7. Be able to demonstrate the difference between an officer solely focused on enforcing the law and one determined to meet the needs of the community including the ethical enforcement of the laws.
  8. Be able to list three or more ways that a partnership can be developed between the police and the community.
  9. Be able to demonstrate the SARA method of analyzing and resolving a community problem.
  10. Be able to describe how a criminal organization might be structured.
  11. Be able to set up a crime matrix in order to identify a hypothetical crime pattern.
  12. Be able to explain the definition of a terrorist organization, cite at least one example of such an organization and demonstrate how it fits the definition.
  13. Be able to define a hate crime and, given a series of scenarios demonstrate which ones meet that definition.
  14. Describe the objectives of a correctional system and cite examples.
  15. Explain the duties of a probation officer and a parole officer.
  16. Describe how an incident command system works and, given a list of resources, a map and a scenario, apply the incident command system in a hypothetical setting.
  17. Identify at least one local community need and design a project to meet that need.
  18. Write an operations plan for the above community project.
  19. Explain the need for awareness, balance and control in a situation possibly requiring the use of defensive tactics.

Use of Force

Modern law enforcement can be traced to the concepts developed by Sir Robert Peel who, in the 1800s, recognized that the function of the police was to "keep the peace by peaceful means." He said that the use of force should only be to the extent necessary to secure observance of the law or to restore order and then only when the exercise of persuasion, advice, and warning was insufficient.

This unit builds on Sir Robert Peel's concepts. When is force necessary? What options are available when force may be necessary?

What determines what degree of force is reasonable in any given situation? 

How should the use of force be documented?

ADD Lesson Plans: 

  • Introduction to the Use of Force: What is Reasonable Force and Where is the Authority to Use Force Set Down by Statute?
  • What Are the Force Options Available to Officers to Overcome Resistance, Effect Arrest, Prevent Escape or Gain Control of the Suspect? 
  • Use of Deadly Force Overview
  • Documenting the Use of Force

Ethics / Leadership

This unit is designed for the student to explore what constitutes ethical leadership? It examines concepts such as how leadership is developed; what the responsibilities of a leader's followers are, and the fact that "just following orders" is not considered justification for unethical, unjust or unlawful behavior. It emphasizes that effective law enforcement cannot take place without the trust of the community and that trust is undermined when unethical leadership practices are employed.

ADD Lesson Plans:

  • Universal Components of Leadership 
  • Impact of Ethical Leadership on Public’s Image of the Professionalism of You and the Department
  • Ethical Considerations of Being a Follower

Community Policing

This unit looks at Community Policing. It begins by placing the concept of the "law enforcement officer" in the context of Sir Robert Peel's 9 Principles of Policing which includes,"Police, at all times, should maintain a relationship with the public that gives reality to the tradition that the police are the public and the public are the police; the police being only members of the public who are paid to give full-time attention to duties which are incumbent on every citizen in the interests of community welfare and existence." As a result, it is important that the police work with the public to get the community's needs met.

ADD Lesson Plans:

  • Peace Officer Responsibilities in the Community
  • Forming Community Partnerships

Problem Oriented Policing

Historically, the concept of Community Policing was developed separately from the concept of Problem Oriented Policing. The skills employed in each concept are slightly different from each other; however, an effective police department employs both in conjunction with each other. 

The students looked at Community Policing in the last unit, now it turns to Problem Oriented Policing. In essence, problem oriented policing recognizes that a pattern of crime cannot be effectively eliminated unless the officers dig deeper than just resolving issues on a case by case basis. This unit looks at the theory that there are other, less obvious, contributing factors that enable crime to take place. It gives the student a disciplined approach to identifying those factors, forming plans to resolve those issues and how to assess the results. 

It closes by introducing the concept of directed patrol (having objectives behind an officer's patrol activities) and combining Community Policing, Problem Oriented Policing and Directed Patrol into an effective, community supported, strategy for eliminating crime.

ADD Lesson Plans:

  • The Broken Windows Theory of Crime
  • Identifying the Elements of the Crime Triangle
  • Working with the SARA Model of Problem Oriented Policing: Scanning, Analysis, Response, Assessment
  • Combining Community Policing, Problem Oriented Policing and Directed Patrol to Make a Department More Effective

Organized Crime

Just as an effective police department is one that is well-organized, well-funded and well-staffed, it is also true that criminals are more effective when they organize. This unit looks at different types of criminal organizations, how they developed, what their goals are, how they impact the community and how they can be abated.

ADD Lesson Plans:

  • Outlaw Motorcycle Gangs
  • Traditional Organized Crime Such as the Mafia
  • Prison Gangs 
  • Human Trafficking 
  • Illicit Drug Distribution Networks 
  • Serial Killers lesson plan

Crime Analysis, Research and Planning

An effective police department is one that is well organized and deploys its resources in a systematic manner. This unit looks at one of the tools that a department uses to organize its efforts: Crime analysis. 

“Crime Analysis” is defined as a set of systematic, analytical processes directed at identifying existing and emerging crime patterns and trend correlations. These are used to assist operational and administrative personnel in planning the deployment of law enforcement resources to prevent crime, increase criminal arrests and aid the investigative process.

The unit explains how crime analysis works, one method of determining where a serial criminal will strike again and how the overall crime analysis process is important to an effective Community Police/Problem Oriented Policing program.

 ADD Lesson Plans:

  • The Crime Analysis Process: Tools and Strategy
  • Where and When a Criminal Will Strike Again
  • Crime Analysis and Community Policing

Terrorist Activities

For the last several years the United States has been concerned with terrorist activities which are often, at least initially, dealt with by local law enforcement. This unit explains what constitutes a terrorist act and a terrorist organization. It examines how such an organization might be funded, what might motivate people to join such an organization as well as some of the common tactics that are employed. It concludes with a lesson on counterterrorism; in other words, what can be done to protect the community from acts of terror.

ADD Lesson Plans:

  • Terrorism – An Overview
  • Typical Terrorist Methods, Motivations and Tactics 
  • Counterterrorism

Hate Crimes

A hate crime in California is defined by Penal Code Section 422.55 which states that a hate crime means a criminal act committed, in whole or in part, because of one or more of the following actual or perceived characteristics of the victim:

  1. Disability
  2. Gender
  3. Nationality
  4. Race or ethnicity
  5. Religion
  6. Sexual orientation
  7. Association with a person or group with one or more of these actual or perceived characteristics.

There are laws that have been written to deal with hate crimes as well as requiring careful documentation of these events. This unit examines the definitions, explains the relevant laws, outlines how such incidents should be dealt with and subsequently reported. It concludes with a discussion on the need and methods of planning with the community to prevent such acts. 

ADD Lesson Plans:

  • Definitions and Laws
  • Response and Reporting Procedures 
  • Planning and Prevention/Working with the Community and Other Agencies

Corrections / Probation / Parole and Re-Entry

This unit describes how probation officers and parole officers function, what their responsibilities are, what their authorities are and how they work with local police to protect the community. It then examines the problems faced by prisoners when they are released. What are the obstacles and resources that may be in play when a person is released from prison and tries to reenter and be accepted by the community.

ADD Lesson Plans:

  • Probation Officers: Responsibilities and Authorities
  • Parole Officers: Responsibilities and Authorities
  • Reentry: Obstacles and Resources

Emergency Management / Incident Command System

Whether it is a natural disaster such as an earthquake, a manmade disaster such as a firestorm, or some other major event such as a riot, many agencies with disparate  missions much coordinate their efforts in order to be effective in meeting the needs of the community. This unit explains how the Incident Command System works and provides real life examples of how the system has been used to alleviate the effects of a disaster.

ADD Lesson Plans:

  • Basic Tenants of the Incident Command System
  • Study of Examples of Disasters That Would Have Benefited from the Incident Command System (Oakland Fire Storm, Loma Prieta Earthquake, Columbine High School Shooting)

Special Community Projects

This unit is a project where the student takes what he or she has learned about community policing, problem oriented policing, emergency management and research techniques such as those used in crime analysis, and applies this knowledge to formulating a plan to address a community need. 

ADD Project:

  • Identify a Community Need and Develop and Action Plan Using the Skills Developed in Course

Physical Fitness - Defensive Tactics / Officer Safety

This unit describes officer safety issues and explores techniques that might help an officer in a tense situation.

ADD Lesson Plan: 

  • Overview of Defensive Tactics – Awareness, Balance and Control

Report Writing - Writing Operations Plans

During all of the courses components have been included that are designed to hone a student's skill at communication. As this course has moved beyond merely writing police reports, the unit looks at the next level of written communication; how is a project researched, a response plan developed and then clearly described in a written operations plan that can be understood by anyone.

ADD Lesson Plan:

  • Operations Plans: Purpose, Components, Structure, Implementation