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CJ 202 Principles of Criminal Investigation • 5 Cr.


Presents fundamental investigative techniques used within the criminal justice system. Topics include discovery, preservation, and presentation of evidence, methods of obtaining information and developing sources, and functions of a criminal laboratory.


After completing this class, students should be able to:

  • The primary learning objective of ADMCJ 202 is to develop the student's cognitive skills in critical and analytical thinking through the ongoing process of learning basic fundamentals in criminal investigation which will lead to the investigation of major crimes. A secondary learning objective is to make the student aware of the complexity and interrelatedness of political, economical, sociological, and environmental problems that are confronting the Justice System today. The following approaches and ideas will be used to teach the students to critically analyze current issues in the Principles of Investigation:
    • Differentiate between fact, fiction, and opinion.
    • Recognize and evaluate author bias.
    • Identify faulty reasoning, and learn to contrast/compare information.
    • Assess the accuracy and completeness of data presented.
    • Identify cause and effect relationships.
    • Make judgments and draw logical conclusions.
    • Present possible solutions.
  • The students will then apply these learning skills in researching the following topics:
  • Introduction
    • Student will define the term investigation, the objective of criminal investigation and will identify and explain an overview of the methods used in criminal investigation.
    • Student will learn appropriate procedures for field note taking, crime scene recording, collection and preservation of evidence, and the preparation of cases for court.
    • Student will study the role of the criminalist, the expert witness, and other specialists.
  • Preliminary Work at Crime Scene
    • Student will explain why an investigator must evaluate a complaint prior to taking action.
    • Student will explain the importance of the evaluation and search of the crime scene, and the preservation of all evidence.
    • Student will explain how to have a composite perception completed by witnesses and victims at scene of crime.
    • Student will learn how to use police and non-police records to help with solution of crime.
    • Student will ascertain correct legal method of proceeding, careful not to violate rights or jeopardize success of case.
    • Student will learn how to interrogate and also to conduct field show-up of potential suspects.
    • Student will learn how to prepare case for court or Grand Jury.
    • Student will define bias and prejudice, and indicate how they might influence the outcome of a case.
  • Special Considerations in Investigations
    • Student will ascertain how the "five senses" might influence a case or a witness/victim.
    • Student will define a computerized correlated information system and how various kinds of information can be derived from the system, i.e., modus operandi, serial numbers, etc.
    • Student will identify and discuss motivating factors, fear, love, hate, etc., that may affect behavior of witness.
    • Student will learn how to canvass neighborhood for clues, and will identify and discuss the untrained observer.
    • Student will know how to use photography at crime scene and also know how to do a completed crime scene sketch.
  • Physical Evidence at Crime Scene
    • Student will identify the basic materials required for casting imprints and also discuss precautions to be taken with tool marks.
    • Student will discuss the "chain of custody" and explain how to collect, preserve and handle various types of physical evidence.
    • Student will show how to collect blood evidence and know the precautions to take regarding AIDS.
    • Student will know how to conduct a sex crime investigation, and know the value of seminal stains, along with fibers, hairs, and threads.
    • Student will define ballistics and be conversant in firearms evidence.
  • Criminalistics Laboratory
    • Student will demonstrate knowledge of the relationship between the various studies and criminal investigations, sufficient to insure use of these specialized services.
    • Student will learn that lab has available experts in firearms, latent prints, blood, polygraph, artists, etc., and special tests such as Magnaflux Technique of numbers restoration, Dermal Nitrate paraffin, Nuetron, Activation Analysis, Atomic Absorption, etc.
  • Selected Crimes and Investigative Scenes
    • Student will identify and discuss signs of death, and also elaborate on the role of the coroner and the importance of the autopsy.
    • Student will explain how to determine if a death is a homicide, suicide, or accident, and how to determine the time of death.
    • Student will identify and discuss the investigative guidelines for such crimes as robbery, burglary, vehicle theft, abused children, and domestic violence.
    • Students will be able to discuss common narcotics and dangerous drugs; their sources, methods of abuse and effects on the body.
    • Student will gain a general understanding of the terrorism phenomena and be able to define international, political, and non-political terrorism.
  • Summary
    • Student will gain knowledge of an appreciation for the importance of the officer/investigator's courtroom demeanor to the outcome of the trial.
    • Student will learn who can testify as an expert and be able to discuss the procedure for qualifying the witness as an expert.
    • Student will develop an appreciation for the significant role private industry and science continue to play in the design, development and adaptation of modern technology and other sciences to the field of criminal investigation.
    • Student will know that the preservation of the crime scene, the proper handling of property and evidence, and the professional intervention of support officers will lead to the successful conclusion of a case with the conviction of offenders.



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Contact info

Bellevue College
3000 Landerholm Circle SE Bellevue, WA 98007-6484 U.S.A.
Work: (425) 564-1000