Great Basin College

Course Syllabus


CRJ 211:  Police in America                                                                         3 Semester Credits

Section ER1, YV1                                                                                          FALL 2007   


Meeting Time:           August 28—December 7, 2007, 1:00 to 2:15 pm, on scheduled dates.


Meeting Location:     GTA128


Instructor:                  Stephen A. Baker, Ph.D., 775-753-2348 or e-mail via Web Campus


Office Hours:             M-T-W from 11 am to noon and M-W from 4-5 pm.


Catalog Description:  Course includes police history and organization, the personal side of policing, police operations, critical issues in policing; specific police problems, women and minorities in policing; and becoming a police officer.  Designed to help students develop their own philosophy of law enforcement.  Critical thinking and discussion of ideas and opinions essential.


Required Textbook:  Dempsey, J.S. & Forst, L.S., (2008), An Introduction to Policing, 4th Edition, Wadsworth: Belmont, CA, ISBN 0495095451.


Course Description:  This course provides an overview of American policing from its origins in Europe, specifically England.  Students will learn ways in which police agencies are organized.  Operational methods employed in policing such as traditional and non-traditional patrol, investigations, police/community interaction and community policing will be reviewed.  The personal side of policing will be examined so students can learn more about hiring processes, police culture, efforts to attract and employ minority officers, the emphasis on ethics, and various types of police misconduct.  Discussions on current issues in policing, as well as future critical issues are also an important consideration.


Attendance Policy:  Students should attend all classes and be on time.  Prior notification of the instructor by calling, leaving a voicemail, and/or sending a message to email is expected for all absences.  Each student is entitled to three hours excused absence per the GBC catalog, as noted on page 49, or the instructor may drop a student.


Course Objectives:


  1. Communicate clearly and effectively in written and oral forms, i.e. discussion, reading, listening.
  2. Describe the American style of policing, its history, the arena in which it operates and issues affecting the police and community.
  3. Describe the personnel issues facing police administrators and managers in the areas of recruitment, selection, education, and performance.
  4. Describe police management and the factors that affect change in police organizations.
  5. Explain how police misconduct, use of force, ethics and other legal issues impact policing within a democracy.
  6. Define community policing and recognize the varied approaches to community policing.
  7. Identify traditional and non-traditional methods of policing and describe their effectiveness.
  8. Explain some of the critical issues affecting policing now and identify several that will have a potential effect in the future.

Learner Outcomes:





·         Know the issues that face police managers and be able to identify various ways the issues may be addressed.



·         Class discussion

·         Quizzes and/or exams


·         Know the differences between the levels of policing, i.e. local, state, federal

·         Recognize the current issues that affect law enforcement



·         Quizzes and/or exams

·         Class discussion

·         Written assignments


·         Define the basic terminology used in policing.

·         Define the viewpoints facing police officers in today’s society.



·         Quizzes and/or exams

·         Class discussion


·         Know the evolution of management approaches in policing

·         Understand how the issues impact the relationship between the police and the communities they serve



·         Quizzes and/or exams


·         Compare community policing with other methods of policing

·         Explain how various approaches to policing can be measured

·         Recognize how local policing is conducted


·         Class discussion

·         Internet research

·         Written assignments


Method of Instruction:  Students will be responsible for reading the chapters and completing the quiz at the end of each chapter.  The instructor will assign discussion questions that students must participate in as part of the grade.  A meeting will be scheduled at the end of each block of instruction for classroom discussion, lecture and summary in preparation for the test.  The class will not meet every week and the instructor will notify students of the next meeting via Web Campus.


Course Requirements:  Students are responsible for reading assigned chapters prior to the scheduled class meeting(s).  Additionally, students should be prepared to discuss text material during class, as well as relevant newsworthy information when called upon.  All students are encouraged to participate in class discussions and group activities.  Contributions to the class are directly proportional to the quality and quantity of knowledge gained.  All class participation will be evaluated and incorporated into the final grade.  Participation credit can help a student if he/she is within a point or two of the next highest grade by pushing the student up to the higher grade.  Students can earn participation credit if they contribute to class discussions, share relevant experiences, demonstrate familiarity with the assigned reading, bring news articles to use in class discussions, and actively participate in class activities.


Exams:  Exams will consist of essay style questions.  Exams will not be cumulative.  Exams will be based on the material presented since the preceding exam.  Generally, there will be no make-up exams.  However, if an exam is missed, students must make arrangements with the instructor before the other students’ exam is graded and returned or students will not be able to make up the exam.  There are no make-ups for the final exam except under extreme emergency situations approved ahead of time.


Grading Policy:  Grading is based on a point system, as outlined below:





Cumulative Points

Percentage Grade


Section Exams





Final Exam





Short Papers (2)










Total Points2


299 or less




1Quizzes may be given if students demonstrate that they have not been reading assignments.

2Total points may be adjusted based on the total sum of assignments as determined by the instructor.


Current Issues:  Each student is encouraged to read newspapers or via the Web for topics of interest and current issues that are related to Rock music.  Students are asked to bring articles to class so that they may be discussed.


Guest Speakers:  If possible, guest speakers may be asked to address topics covered in the text.  Please show respect for our guests. Each of them has graciously agreed to visit with us on their own time.  They are excited about the opportunity to talk about their experiences.  Ask questions and be attentive.  Some of the information presented may appear on tests so please take notes.  You will be advised when guest speakers are scheduled.


General instructions for written assignments:  Please check out the section entitled “Writing Samples” on the Web Campus site.



Written Assignments:


A.         Assignments will be due throughout the course of the semester.  Students will receive instructions on assignment requirements, how to complete the assignment, how the assignment will be evaluated and the due date via Web Campus.


B.         There may be additional assignments required of students via the Internet or on Web Campus such as researching websites, reading articles, participation in discussion boards, etc.







Note:  The course content and following schedule may be changed to meet the needs of the class or at the discretion of the instructor.


Course and Reading Schedule:


August 28—September 13, 2007                                Police History and Organization

                                                            September 3—Labor Day Holiday


September 18—October 18, 2007                               The Personal Side of Policing



October 17—November 20, 2007                                Police Operations

                                                            October 26—Nevada Day Holiday

                                                            November 12—Veteran’s Day Holiday

                                                            November 22-23—Thanksgiving Day Holiday—No Class


November 26—December 6, 2007                              Critical Issues in Policing


November 23—Thanksgiving Day Holiday—No Class

·         Chapter 14—Computers, Technology, and Criminalistics in Policing

·         Chapter 15—Homeland Security



Exam Schedule:






Exam 1

Exam 2

Exam 3

Final Exam


Great Basin College


General Policies


The Americans with Disabilities Act


The instructor is willing to make reasonable accommodations for limitations due to any disability, including learning disabilities.  Please see me before or after class to discuss any special needs you may have.  Students may also contact the college ADA officer at 775-753-2271.  Please see information posted on page 35 of the GBC catalog.


Sexual Harassment Policy


The policy of GBC is to provide an educational, employment, and business environment free of unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal and/or physical conduct or communications constituting sexual harassment, as defined and otherwise prohibited by State and Federal law.  Sexual harassment by and between: employees, students, employees and students, and campus visitors and students or employees, is prohibited by this policy.  Please review the information provided by the GBC catalog on page 29.


Academic Honesty


All students assume, as part of their obligation to the college, the responsibility to exhibit in their academic performance, qualities of honesty and integrity.  All forms of student dishonesty are subject to disciplinary action.  Students are strongly encouraged to do their own work and give full credit to the work of those they incorporate into any submitted assignments.  To do otherwise is plagiarism.


Great Basin College’s approved definition of plagiarism is as follows:


“Plagiarism is presenting someone else’s word, ideas or data as one’s own.  When a student submits work that includes the words, ideas, or data of others, the source of that information must be acknowledged through complete, accurate, and specific references; and if verbatim statements are included, through quotation marks as well.  In academically honest writing or speaking, the students will acknowledge the source whenever:


Educational Environment Conduct


Consistent with a collegiate environment of educational study, students are expected to conduct themselves in a manner appropriate for an institution of higher learning.  The disruption or obstruction of teaching will not be tolerated.  Students are expected to be respectful and tolerant of diverse opinions/ideas even if they do not agree with them.


The discussion of criminal justice issues often requires a “real world” look at topics and pertinent issues.  Students should be aware that this course might generate discussions, use videos, and have guest speakers, etc., which portray a graphic and honest look at deviant behavior and crime.  If you are easily offended, please let the instructor know so that you may be excused from participation in such issues.


Students should also familiarize themselves with the section on student conduct policy on pages 28-32 of the Great Basin College catalog regarding misconduct, disciplinary proceeding procedure, hearing procedure, appeal and disciplinary action.