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University Bulletin
Undergraduate Degree Programs

These course descriptions are not being updated as of August 1, 2016. Current course descriptions are maintained in LionPATH.

Criminal Justice (CRIMJ)

CRIMJ 234 Fundamental Techniques of Scientific Criminal Investigation (3) Traditional and innovative technical approaches utilized by law enforcement scientists; capabilities and limitations of technical techniques highlighted.

CRIMJ 234 Fundamental Techniques of Scientific Criminal Investigation (3)

This course is designed to introduce students to the fundamental methods by which scientific-criminal investigations are pursued. Course objectives focus upon a familiarity with various strategies and techniques of scientific criminal investigation within the law enforcement context so that students may understand both the potentials and limitations of such methods. The course maintains a focus upon traditional methods of scientific criminal investigation as well as examination of scientific developments that have altered investigation in recent years. While this course cannot produce expertise in the more sophisticated technologies of criminal investigation, it serves as a basic introduction to the field. As such, it is designed to give an overview of various possibilities, so that students completing the course will have a general grasp of the various strategies and techniques that are available for criminal investigation and will be in a position to call upon the necessary and appropriate expertise when the occasion arises. The course design alerts students to many of the limitations of the various strategies and techniques of scientific criminal investigation, equipping, them to judge the validity of various findings and to assess the qualifications, and methods employed by different experts. The course gives special attention to strategies and tactics of interrogation and to means of' corroborating interrogation data with scientific data obtained from other investigative techniques. The course provides an introduction to various techniques of' fingerprinting, including ink pads and dusting techniques, as well as several techniques for bringing out latent fingerprints, with an emphasis on the careful collection and preservation of this evidence. It will introduce methods of drug testing, including techniques for insuring the validity of specimens and basic chemical analysis kits currently available for drug testing, with an emphasis on the careful collection and preservation of this evidence. It demonstrates and provides practical experience in breathalyzer utilization, as well as other investigative techniques for assessing driver impairment resulting from excess alcohol intake. It provides a basic introduction to DNA technology to the point of equipping students with a fundamental understanding of DNA evidence, including probabilities associated with various findings. Throughout the course, there is special stress on the concept of crime scene investigation, including strategies for cordoning off crime scenes and restricting contamination of evidence, basic crime scene mapping, and analysis of evidence such as blood splattering, foreign objects, unusual markings, hair and fiber samples, and other aspects of evidence. Finally, the course stresses preparation of investigative reports, with an emphasis upon clarity of presentation, attention to relevant details, preparation for presentation of evidence in court, and careful and concise writing.

Faculty Member Proposing Course: Richard A. Ball

General Education: None
Diversity: None
Bachelor of Arts: None
Effective: Spring 2008

Note : Class size, frequency of offering, and evaluation methods will vary by location and instructor. For these details check the specific course syllabus.


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Course descriptions are stored in LionPATH, the University-wide student information system. Please visit the LionPATH Course Catalog to access current course descriptions. At that point, you will be leaving the University Bulletin website.

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