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Master Syllabus

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Administrative Unit: Criminal Justice Administration and Human Services Department
Course Prefix and Number: CJAD 203
Course Title: Crime Scene Investigation
Number of:
Credit Hours 3
Lecture Hours 3
Lab Hours 0
Catalog Description:

Techniques and methods of crime scene investigation focusing on practical suggestions as well as theoretical viewpoints of the field. Topics include: fundamentals of the preliminary investigation, identification, protection and collection of evidence, sketching and photographing the crime scene, interpreting blood stain evidence and fingerprinting techniques. $40 lab fee. Prerequisite: CJAD 101.

Prerequisite(s) / Corequisite(s): CJAD 101.
Course Rotation for Day Program: Offered Fall and Spring.
Text(s): Most current editions of the following:

Many suitable textbooks are available from various publishers and the following list is not comprehensive. Other textbooks may be judged by individual instructors to be more suitable in meeting course objectives. Many current textbooks have companion websites, and the instructor is encouraged to enhance the course experience for the student by utilizing available technology.

Practical Crime Scene Processing and Investigation
By Gardner (CRC Press)
Techniques of Crime Scene Investigation
By Fisher (CRC Press)
First Unit Responder: A Guide to Physical Evidence Collection for Patrol Officers
By Hawthorne (CRC Press)
Course Objectives
  • To appreciate proper crime scene processing.
  • To understand the role of law enforcement and crime scene technicians in collection, preservation and interpretation of evidence obtained from crime scenes.
  • To examine the relationship and interactions between law enforcement, crime scene technicians and other entities in the criminal justice system.
  • To gain experience with common terminology, equipment, methods and procedures connected with collection, preservation and analysis of evidence at crime scenes.
  • To examine the practical, theoretical, legal and ethical dilemmas faced by individuals involved in crime scene processing.
  • To enhance critical thinking and practical skills on issues relevant to crime scene investigation and processing.
    Measurable Learning
  • Explain the role of law enforcement and crime scene technicians in collection, preservation and interpretation of evidence from crime scenes.
  • Describe the methods and importance of proper crime scene response in a criminal investigation.
  • Recognize, describe and evaluate the various types of evidence typically available at a crime scene.
  • Identify, compare, and evaluate relevant terminology, equipment and methods for collection, preservation and interpretation of evidence from crime scenes.
  • Describe and evaluate comparative individual, team and departmental approaches to investigating and processing a crime scene.
  • Apply relevant terminology, equipment and methods involving crime scene investigation and processing to real and hypothetical issues, problems, simulations and case studies.
  • Identify and evaluate relevant legal and ethical issues involved in investigating and processing a crime scene.
  • Appraise and interpret relevant literature, case studies, materials and developments regarding crime scene investigation and processing.
    Topical Outline: The purpose of this course is to provide the student with a general introduction to the mechanics of crime scene investigation and its role in the criminal justice process. The material is presented from a legal, criminological, historical and social systems perspective so that the student will develop an understanding of the derivation and mechanical operation of each phase of the crime scene investigation from the duties of the responding officer to the technical role of the crime scene specialist.

  • What is crime scene investigation?
  • First responders’ duties and responsibilities
  • Team approach concepts
  • Major case squad organizational structure and operations policy
  • Legal and ethical considerations of crime scene investigations
  • Photographic applications and techniques for documentation
  • Latent print recognition, development and recovery
  • Recognition, collection and preservation of evidence
  • Sketching of scenes (indoor and outdoor)
  • Legal aspects and understanding of search warrant applications
  • Court room demeanor of the evidence technicians
  • Selected case studies

    Recommended maximum class size for this course: 15

    Library Resources:

    Online databases are available at You may access them from off-campus using your CougarTrack login and password when prompted.

    Prepared by: Barry Langford Date: April 9, 2008
    NOTE: The intention of this master course syllabus is to provide an outline of the contents of this course, as specified by the faculty of Columbia College, regardless of who teaches the course, when it is taught, or where it is taught. Faculty members teaching this course for Columbia College are expected to facilitate learning pursuant to the course objectives and cover the subjects listed in the topical outline. However, instructors are also encouraged to cover additional topics of interest so long as those topics are relevant to the course's subject. The master syllabus is, therefore, prescriptive in nature but also allows for a diversity of individual approaches to course material.

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