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Master Syllabus

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Administrative Unit: Criminal Justice Administration and Human Services Department
Course Prefix and Number: CJAD 403
Course Title: Cold Case Investigation
Number of:
Credit Hours 3
Lecture Hours 3
Lab Hours 0
Catalog Description:

Examination of the processes, theories and investigative techniques of cold case investigations. Operative and sequential procedures that lead to sucessful closure of cold cases examined. Topics include: development of cold case units, solvability factors, review and evaluation of evidence, and the basic and advanced technological methods employed by cold case squads. Prerequisites: CJAD 101, CJAD 203, CJAD 405 and a declared Criminal Justice or Forensic Science major.

Prerequisite(s) / Corequisite(s):

CJAD 101, CJAD 203, CJAD 405 and a declared Criminal Justice or Forensic Science major.

Course Rotation for Day Program:

Occasional offering.

Text(s): Most current editions of the following:

Many suitable text books 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. Given the nature of the course, the Instructor may want to adopt more than one textbook. Many current textbooks have companion websites, and the Instructor is encouraged to enhance the course experience for the student by utilizing available technology.

The following text has been used successfully by Columbia College Instructors in meeting all or a significant portion of the Course objectives:

Cold Case Methodology
By Cooper, Greg and Mike King (Law Tech Publishing)
Course Objectives

• To expose students to the job assignments within a cold case investigation. • To explain investigative techniques and organizational policies as applied to cold case investigations. • To integrate and apply the rules of evidence in investigating a cold case. • To expose students to the viewpoints and functions of criminal justice professionals in investigating cold cases. • To allow students to pursue and apply topics of interest not presently covered in other courses.

Measurable Learning

• Explain how a cold case investigation is conducted. • Describe and evaluate the makeup of a cold case unit. • Identify, describe and demonstrate proper investigative techniques involved in working a cold case. • Identify, compare and evaluate relevant terminology, equipment, technology and methods for conducting cold case investigations. • Apply relevant terminology, equipment, technology and methods to real and hypothetical issues, problems, simulations and case studies involving cold case issues. • Identify and evaluate relevant legal and ethical issues involved in investigating a cold case. • Explain how to plan, execute, and manage a cold case investigation. • Differentiate between various approaches and strategies involved in cold case investigations. • Identify and describe the role of any governmental offices involved in investigation of a cold case. • Appraise and interpret relevant literature, case studies, materials and developments regarding cold case investigation.

Topical Outline:

• Introduction to cold case units • Setting up a cold case squad • The evolution of cold case squads • Case management • Legal and ethical issues • Forensic applications • Dealing with informants • Contacting the victim's and suspect's family • Dealing with the medical examiner • Investigating backgrounds • Dealing with the media • Cold case review - host agency


Recommended maximum class size for this course: 15

Library Resources:

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

Prepared by: Barry Langford Date: September 2, 2010
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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