7/01/2020

Need for CRJ 227 to be a Required Course for Students intending to pursue Careers in Law Enforcement

I need some help from my law, law enforcement, and justice career friends. I created a survey and I want and need your responses.

The purpose of this survey is to collect basic feedback regarding a need for college students intending to enter a career in law enforcement to complete course work that provides a focus on the expectations of the law when police interact with the public. Specifically, this survey focuses on the need for a required course that emphasizes the legal expectations for procedures and practices in any police action involving: use of force; arrest; search and seizure; self-incrimination; the assistance of counsel; and other civil rights or aspects of constitutional law that dictate how police should interact with the public when performing their duties.

This survey is intended to be completed by people who are or who have served in careers in law enforcement or in careers that cause you to interact with police officers on a regular basis, so police officers, lawyers (prosecutors and defense lawyers), probation and corrections personnel, court personnel, social workers, counselors, and judges.

There was a time when students seeking a career in Law Enforcement were required to complete courses that provided them with the expectations of procedural law and the expectations of police when interacting with members of the public. These courses were eliminated as the more generic, criminology driven, "Criminal Justice" degrees became more prevalent.

I want to be very upfront with my interest and bias in seeking this information. I teach courses to students seeking both a non-transfer Law Enforcement degree and students who intend to seek a Criminal Justice degree. My first college degree was in "Police Science". So I have been around through the evolution of the Career and Technical based focus of educating students towards a career in law enforcement to the current standard of the more liberal arts-centered Criminal Justice transfer degrees.

I do not like the term "Criminal Justice". Never have. I do not think we serve students or the public by promoting criminal justice when our true intention is to promote Justice. I also have concerns with pushing a student intent on a specific career path of public service into less than specific criminal justice degree paths. Those degrees have increasingly been tailored towards theory courses and away from the law and technical aspects of a career in law enforcement. There is a balance to be found and if we truly seek justice, we will move towards that balance, but that is a survey and debate for another time. 

My primary focus in seeking a response to this survey is to determine if Illinois Central College students are better served by requiring a course that introduces them to and covers these topics in a relevant and meaningful way.