Police Studies Course Descriptions

PLS 103 Police, Order Maintenance and Crime. (3) A. Overview of the role of police. The historical development of policing, police functions and bureaucratic organization are examined. Police misconduct, discretion and effectiveness receive special attention.

PLS 216 Criminal Law. (3) I, II.  The nature of the criminal act; the essential elements; theories of responsibility; exculpatory matters; overview of common law offenses; identification of trends in the law.

PLS 220 Criminal Investigation.  (3)  A.  Fundamental of criminal investigation, crime scene search and recording, collection and preservation of physical evidence, scientific aids, modus operandi, sources of information, interviews and interrogation, follow-up, case preparation and case management.

PLS 315 Police Administration and Management. (3) I, II.  Prerequisite:  sophomore standing.  Critically examines the theories of motivation, leadership, and organization in the police context.  Police administrative and management functions studied emphasizing personnel management and organizational change.

PLS 316 Criminal Evidence. (3) I, II.    Prerequisite:  sophomore standing.  Overview of trial procedures; classification of evidence; proof; presumptions; relevance; eyewitness identification; testimonial privileges; character; hearsay; impeachment; scientific evidence; collection and preservation of evidence.

PLS 326 Ethical Decisions and Police. (3) A.Prerequisite: Junior or Senior standing.Examines the problems of ethical philosophies, theories and law in the context of policing. Consideration is given to problems of police judgment arising from unquestioned assumptions about morality. Focuses on forms of ethical violation at the individual, group and organization levels as well as strategies for prevention and control.

PLS 330 Topics in Police Studies. (1‑6) A.   Prerequisite:  sophomore standing.  Examination of a contemporary issue in policing including historical perspective, societal issues, present status, and future development.  The police response to a specific problem is the core of this course.  Course may be taken for a maximum of six hours under different headings.

PLS 349 Applied Learning in Police Administration. (.5‑8) A.  Prerequisites:  departmental approval, sophomore standing.  Work under faculty and field supervisors, in placements related to academic studies.  One to eight hours credit per semester or summer.  Total hours: eight, associate; fifteen, baccalaureate.  Minimum 80 hours work required for each academic credit.  A maximum of three hours of PLS 349 and 424 can be applied toward the PLS major or minor.

PLS 349 A-N Cooperative Study:  Police Administration. (.5‑8) A.  Prerequisites:  departmental approval, sophomore standing.  Work under faculty and field supervisors, in placements related to academic studies.  One to eight hours credit per semester or summer.  Total hours: eight, associate; fifteen, baccalaureate.  Minimum 80 hours work required for each academic credit.  A maximum of three hours of PLS 349 and 424 can be applied toward the PLS major or minor.   

PLS 375 Terrorism/Counterterrorism. (3) A. Prerequisite: Junior or Senior standing.A study of domestic, foreign, transnational and state terrorism. This course examines issues related to defining, preventing and combating terrorism. Various social and historical forces and events will be considered in order to contextualize specific key individuals, organizations and actions.

PLS 380 Police in the Popular Media.  (3) A.  Prerequisite:  sophomore standing.  A study of the public’s perception of police through popular media (music, radio, television, films, short stories and books) and how those media sources might influence policing itself.

PLS 385 Police Related Violence.  (3) A.  Prerequisite:  sophomore standing.  A descriptive, theoretical and philosophical approach to violence used by the police and violence directed toward them.  Psychological and sub-cultural impacts will be examined.  Additional analysis associated with lethal and non-lethal violence policy and strategies are included.

PLS 390 Predatory Crime and Crime Patterns. (3) A.  Prerequisite:  sophomore standing.  Examination of selected crime categories including predatory street, conventional property, and sex crimes. Areas of  concentration include theoretical and ecological characteristics, victim‑offender relationships, and crime patterns emphasizing police responses.

PLS 401 Multi-Culturalism and Policing. (3) A. Prerequisite: Junior or Senior standing. Examines the policing of marginalized populations and investigates the realities of these persons within policing. Specific populations can include racial and ethnic minorities, age, women, sexual minorities, persons with physical and mental disabilities, immigrant populations, veterans, and others.

PLS 403 Homicide.  (3) A.  Prerequisite:  sophomore standing.  Explore current theoretical, philosophical and empirical literature associated with homicide.  Content includes descriptive, theoretical, empirical, and practical explanations of criminal homicide patterns.  Included will be an examination of death investigation systems and police responses.

PLS 408 Policing and Technology. (3) A. Prerequisite: Junior or Senior standing. Examines the current realities of cyber crime and the official police response. Consideration will be given to legal issues, civil liberties, police deviance and the sociopolitical impacts of technology. 

PLS 410 The Police and Community. (3) A. Prerequisite: Junior or Senior standing. Examines relationships between the police and community that address crime and quality of life problems. Community is examined as a geographical space made of multiple and diverse publics sometimes requiring different strategies and attention. A distinction is drawn between public relations and police community partnerships.

PLS 414 Social Forces and Policing Society (3) A. Prerequisites: CRJ 101 and PLS 103.  Sophomore standing or higher.  Examines the history and evolution of policing in the United States with an emphasis on the political, social, cultural, legal and organizational forces that have molded that history.  The roles and functions of police in America are examined in detail within the context of race, class and gender.

PLS 415 Contemporary Police Strategies.  (3)  A.  Prerequisite:  senior standing.  Review of contemporary police issues, programs, and strategies.  Detailed analysis and evaluation of police practices, including impact on the relationship between the police and the community.  Assessment of police reform measures and accountability mechanism. 

PLS 416 Criminal Procedure. (3) A.   Prerequisite: PLS 216, sophomore standing, or instructor approval. A detailed study of the laws of arrest (including the use of force), search and seizure, emphasizing the constitutional basis, historical development, statutes, and recent court decisions.

PLS 420 Surveillance & Society. (3) A. Prerequisite: Junior or Senior standing. Examines the nexus of surveillance, policing, and society. The course explores the role of states, corporations and individuals in monitoring and policing of bodies, populations, property and information. Consideration is given to historical and contemporary dynamics of surveillance: socio-technical assemblages, risk and security discourses, institutional blurring, inequalities and civil liberties.

PLS 426 Federal Criminal Law. (3) A.   Prerequisites:  PLS 216 or CRJ 312; sophomore standing.  An examination of the federal criminal law enforcement system with a focus on substantive offenses. In addition to specific crimes, the basis of federal jurisdiction will be studied.

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