Feb 21, 2020  
2019 - 2020 Cowley College Academic Catalog 
2019 - 2020 Cowley College Academic Catalog



3 Credit Hours

Student Level:

This course is open to students on the college level in their freshman or sophomore year.

Catalog Description:

CRJ5415 - Criminal Investigation (3 hrs)

This course explores the basics of issues concerning investigative techniques. Topics covered include effective interview and interrogation techniques, crime scene management, identification, and proper collection of evidence, lab processes used for evidence, crime scene documentation methods, case preparation, and courtroom presentation. Course covers how to prove the elements of crimes as defined by Kansas Law.

Course Classification:



Student must have completed or be concurrently enrolled in CRJ5411 Introduction to Criminal Justice.

Controlling Purpose:

This course is designed to help the student increase their knowledge concerning the basic skills and techniques in investigating crime scenes from arriving at the scene to final completed reports.

Learner Outcomes:

Upon completion of the course, the student will be able to:

  • Communicate clearly and effectively both verbally and through written documentation with diverse populations.
  • Apply substantive and procedural law to practical situations.
  • Apply investigative and case management techniques to practical situations.
  • Demonstrate ethics, integrity, teamwork, and professionalism as they apply to criminal investigation.

Unit Outcomes for Criterion Based Evaluation:

The following defines the minimum core content not including the final examination period. Instructors may add other content as time allows.

UNIT 1: Introduction

Outcome: The student will understand and be able to describe the basic requirements of a crime scene investigator.

  • Determine criminal investigator characteristics necessary for a fair, complete, and impartial investigation.
  • Identify the ways in which notification of a crime is received.
  • Determine how to assess what investigative steps must be taken.
  • Discuss the investigators notebook and how organizational skills are necessary for a modern investigator.
  • Analyze facts available to determine if a crime has been committed.

UNIT 2: Initial Crime Scene Response

Outcome: The student will understand and be able to explain the initial steps of the responding officers and investigators and how critical proper response can be to an investigation.

  • List the steps that responding officers should take when responding to calls.
  • Explain the purpose of each step in the criminal investigative process.
  • Develop questions to determine the basic facts surrounding a case.
  • Describe how an initial crime scene survey should be conducted.
  • Determine the investigative information needs in a logical manner.

UNIT 3: Crime Scene Documentation

Outcome: The student will be able to list and demonstrate the different types of crime scene documentation.

  • Demonstrate documentation methods and procedures through the entire investigation process.
  • Discuss and demonstrate crime scene sketching.
  • Compare and contrast the advantages and disadvantages of sketching versus photography.
  • Discuss the advantages and disadvantages to video taping a crime scene.
  • Explain how note taking at a scene is crucial to a successful outcome.

UNIT 4: Crime Scene Evidence

Outcome: The student will be able to discuss and demonstrate how to identify, locate and search for evidence at a crime scene.

  • Explain how to record a crime scene, collect, and preserve evidence.
  • Explain appropriate protocol for collection, preservation, and transportation of physical evidence to the crime lab.
  • Discuss and illustrate how improper collection and storage methods can destroy certain types of evidence.

UNIT 5: Post Scene Investigation

Outcome: The student will learn to assess what investigative needs a case has following the crime scene stage.

  • Conduct a follow up investigation using a variety of techniques.
  • Correctly and accurately document an investigation through written reports.
  • Identify appropriate techniques for questioning victims, witnesses and interrogating suspects.
  • Demonstrate effective surveillance techniques.
  • Explain a case for court presentation.

Projects Required: 

Projects will vary by instructor but may include crime scene sketching, note taking, report writing, surveillance demonstrations, mock crime scenes, quizzes, exams and other projects decided upon by class instructor.


Contact Bookstore for current textbook.

Materials/Equipment Required: 

Attendance Policy:

Students should adhere to the attendance policy outlined by the instructor in the course syllabus.

Grading Policy:

The grading policy will be outlined by the instructor in the course syllabus.

Maximum class size:

Based on classroom occupancy

Course Timeframe:

The U.S. Department of Education, Higher Learning Commission and the Kansas Board of Regents define credit hour and have specific regulations that the college must follow when developing, teaching and assessing the educational aspects of the college. A credit hour is an amount of work represented in intended learning outcomes and verified by evidence of student achievement that is an institutionally-established equivalency that reasonably approximates not less than one hour of classroom or direct faculty instruction and a minimum of two hours of out-of-class student work for approximately fifteen weeks for one semester hour of credit or an equivalent amount of work over a different amount of time. The number of semester hours of credit allowed for each distance education or blended hybrid courses shall be assigned by the college based on the amount of time needed to achieve the same course outcomes in a purely face-to-face format.

Refer to the following policies:

402.00 Academic Code of Conduct

263.00 Student Appeal of Course Grades

403.00 Student Code of Conduct

Disability Services Program: 

Cowley College, in recognition of state and federal laws, will accommodate a student with a documented disability. If a student has a disability which may impact work in this class which requires accommodations, contact the Disability Services Coordinator.