Criminal Investigation Syllabus for 2021-2022
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Instructor Information

Office Location


Office Hours

I do not have an office at Amarillo College. If a meeting is required, we can schedule an office at the campus as needed. I can be reached through email or by phone, both are listed above.

Course Information

COVID-19 Protocols

Recording Policy

Disability Statement

If you have a disability (learning, mental, physical) that affects your ability to participate effectively and have access to any program or service at Amarillo College please contact Disability Services at (806) 345-5639 . Our offices are located in the Student Service Center office 112. More information may be found at
Disability Services facilitates access to all programs and services according to the ADA, Americans with Disabilities Act and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, as well as other federal and state laws.

Amarillo College Web Accessibility Policy Statement

Amarillo College is committed to providing equal access to all programs and services, including all working, learning, and service environments that affect equal access for persons with disabilities. This commitment to provide equal access and opportunity for persons with disabilities is in compliance with federal and state law. Amarillo College also strives to provide Electronic and Information Resources (EIR) that are accessible to all authorized users.

If you find you are unable to access material in an accessible format please contact the Disability Services Office at (806) 345-5639 . This office will work in conjunction with other campus resources to address and accommodate your issue in a timely manner.

Statement for Mental Health and Advocacy & Resource Center:

As a student you may experience a range of issues that can cause barriers to learning, such as strained relationships, increased anxiety, alcohol/drug problems, feeling down, difficulty concentrating and/or lack of motivation. These mental health concerns or stressful events may lead to diminished academic performance or reduce a student's ability to participate in daily activities. Amarillo College offers services to assist you with addressing these and other concerns you may be experiencing. If you or someone you know are suffering from any of the aforementioned conditions, you can learn more about the broad range of confidential mental health services available on campus by calling the AC Counseling Center at 806-371-5900. The AC Counseling Center website is . Also, if you are in need of social services (affordable housing, utilities, transportation, food, clothing, childcare, medical/dental/vision, legal), please call the AC Advocacy & Resource Center at 806-371-5439. The AC Advocacy & Resource Center website is

Amarillo College Tutoring for Success Policy:

The Tutoring for Success policy applies to any student whose grade or performance in the course falls below a departmentally determined minimum threshold. In either of those cases, the instructor will direct the student to the appropriate tutoring service, which may be faculty-led, discipline-specific, and/or general. Under this policy, the instructor will follow specific departmental guidelines governing the use, duration, and grade component of the tutoring need.

Administrative Drop Policy

Students who do not attend class on or prior to the census date will be administratively dropped. Effective Fall, 2016

Student Withdrawal Procedures

Students who wish to withdraw from a course must complete all steps indicated on the Academic Withdrawal Request form by the course withdrawal deadline.

NOTE: Students who are attending Texas institutions of higher education, for the first time fall 2007 and later, may not withdraw from more than six courses during their academic career. This withdrawal limitation does not include dual credit or developmental classes (Senate Bill 1231 Rule 4.10.) For more information on Drop and Withdrawal Policies, please visit the Registrar's Office Web site.

Privacy Statement

The Amarillo College Privacy Policy is found at , and applies to all Amarillo College students.  If you have questions about this privacy statement or you believe that your personal information has been released without your consent, send email to .


CRIJ-2314-003 Criminal Investigation


Course Description

Investigative theory; collection and preservation of evidence; sources of information; interview and interrogation; uses of forensic sciences; case and trial preparation.

Student ResourcesStudent Resources Website

Department Expectations

Occupational License Disclaimer

Notice to Students enrolled in an educational program for preparation of issuance of certain occupational licenses:

Students enrolled in an educational program in preparation for obtaining certain occupational licenses are potentially ineligible for such license if the student has been convicted of an offense. For further information, please contact:

Melodie Graves
Justice Involved Advocate
Student Service Center 117
Make appointment at

You can also contact the Legal Clinic, or the faculty member in charge of the educational program that you seek to enroll in. The further information you will receive will include notification to you of your right to request a criminal history evaluation letter from the licensing authority in order to clarify your particular situation.


(3 sem hrs; 3 lec)

Class Type

Online Course

Syllabus Information




All students enrolling in this class must have access to a working computer, active and functioning internet service, some type of word processing program, Adobe Acrobat Reader and exhibit computer competency.

Adobe Acrobat Reader may be downloaded FREE from


Students should utilize their Google Apps for completing course assignments. To access your Google Apps follow the steps listed below:

Step 1| Log onto AC Connect.

Step 2| Click on the Google Apps Email link in the top right of the page.

Step 3| Once on your student email page, you will see an icon in the upper right corner that has 9 little boxes in a group. Click on that icon and it will take you to your Google Apps.

Step 4| Choose the appropriate app needed. As a helpful hint, you’ll use “Docs” to write your discussion posts and other written assignments and “Slides” for your introduction assignment as well as your class project presentations (if applicable).   

Assistance with Computer Access

If you don’t have a computer, you may access the computers at the AC Library on the 4th floor of the WARE Building. Click on the link to access phone numbers, hours of operation and locations for all Amarillo College libraries and computing centers:

The Amarillo College Bookstore has a laptop rental program. Contact them to find out more information about the requirements and terms of the program.

Amarillo College Writer’s Corner

The Writer’s Corner is an excellent resource available to you for assistance in the writing needs of the course. You can access additional information at

EMAIL ADDRESS:    Phone: 345-5580    LOCATION:  Ordway Hall, Room 102

Fall & Spring Semesters

Monday – Thursday

8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.

Friday 8:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

Summer Sessions

Monday - Thursday

8:00 am to 1:00 pm

Closed on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday

Student Performance


  1. Understand the process and procedures of a criminal investigation.
  2. Determine the role of evidence in a criminal investigation.
  3. Compare and contrast the variations in investigation guidelines for different types of crimes.
  4. Be familiar with the legal requirements of a criminal investigation and the subsequent procedures for preparing a case for presentation and successful conclusion of the adjudication process.


Students Rights and Responsibilities

Student Rights and Responsibilities

Log in using the AC Connect Portal

In order to receive your AC Connect Email, you must log in through AC Connect at .

If you are an active staff or faculty member according to Human Resources, use "Exchange". All other students, use "AC Connect (Google) Email".

Expected Student Behavior

Students are expected to participate in the weekly class discussions. Posts to discussion questions should be substantive and fully answer the question or issue. When replying to a classmate’s post, students are expected to be polite and keep their responses respective and professional.

Grading Criteria

Students' grades for this course will be comprised of the following percentages and types of assignments:

Coursework [30%] There are a variety of assignments in this category related to content vocabulary, assigned course readings and/or written assignments.

These assignments are meant to evaluate students’ knowledge regarding assigned content, to help students develop ideas and concepts based on designated topics while learning how to support them with substantive material from the textbook and other sources, and communicate their findings in a written format.

Discussion Assignments [20%]  There will be several discussion assignments in which the student will be required to publish a discussion post based on an assigned discussion prompt and then respond to at least five (5) of his or her classmates' postings.

The purpose of the discussion assignments is to help students practically apply knowledge gained while reading the assigned chapter(s) and interacting with their fellow classmates.

Midterm Exam [30%] The mid-term exam is included in Week 4, contains 100 multiple-choice and true-false questions, and addresses all material covered to date (through Week 4).  

The purpose of the exam is to evaluate students’ knowledge regarding material in assigned chapter(s) at the half-way point of the semester. The midterm will cover a wider range of assigned chapters and content than the reading quizzes and is based on the applicable module learning objectives.

Crime Scene Project [20%] This culminating project serves as the final exam for the course.  All information necessary for the completion of this project will be provided to students early in the semester to provide ample time for completion of all required elements therein.

See the Crime Scene Project link under the COURSE MENU on the left side of the screen in the class site on Blackboard.

The purpose of this project is to foster learner-centered thought processes that are analytical, logical and creative in nature and allow students an opportunity to practically apply knowledge and experience gained throughout the semester.

Assignment Deadlines

It’s imperative for students in an academic setting to learn how to manage their course workload, assignments and time for future success in a real-world environment. Due dates for the entire semester will be listed on the course calendar from the first day of class.  I reserve the right to make determinations regarding acceptance of late assignments on a case-by-case basis.  

Unless otherwise noted, all assignments, quizzes and exams will be due no later than 11:59 p.m. on the specified date, as referenced on the calendar.

If there is a valid emergency or circumstance beyond your control, you may contact me prior to the due date of the assignment(s) to discuss your options and any potential late penalties that may be applied.  

It is your responsibility to ensure you have access to a working computer and functioning internet service to access the course and submit your assignments. DO NOT wait until the last minute to complete your assignments. Forgetting to do an assignment or having an internet malfunction at the last minute are NOT sufficient excuses for submitting an assignment late. Please understand this policy is present and adhered to in the interest of fairness to all students in the class.

Grading of Assignments

You can access your grades at any time by clicking on the MY Grades link under the course menu on the left sidebar of the course site.

Homework and discussion assignment grades will be available as soon as possible. Grades will be based on format, the student’s compliance with all assignment requirements, accurateness and comprehensiveness of answers. A rubric will be provided for all written assignments. The time frame for the posting of grades is tentative.  There will be occasions when it will take longer to post the grades.

Understand minimal work will receive a minimal grade.  Don’t assume just because you completed the minimum requirements for the assignment you will receive a perfect score. General feedback will be given on the first assignments. However, due to the number of students and workload, feedback on subsequent assignments will be limited to citing incorrect answers, etc. or explaining why a grade is extremely low (below 70).  

You can always check your current class average so you know where you stand. If you have any questions regarding your grades, you are encouraged to contact your professor.  


Final Course Grade Assignment (Grading Schema)

Final letter grades in the course will be assigned utilizing the schema listed below. Unless otherwise noted, there will be no exceptions to this schema made by the professor. Grades are not negotiable. Your final course grade will be based on your work in the course.

Letter Grade

Corresponding Numerical Value










59 and below



Consistent and adequate involvement in an online class is necessary for satisfactory completion. Therefore, it is the responsibility of the student to check course postings and emails on a daily basis, follow the prescribed timeline for assignments and exams, etc. If a student is having difficulty with any portion of this course, they should contact me via email, phone, or in person, immediately.

Additional Information Regarding Withdrawals

Per Amarillo College guidelines, students must receive approval from the instructor to withdraw from the course after the census date. The last day to withdraw from a class is listed on the course calendar (on the class site) and on Amarillo College’s master calendar on AC Connect.

If a student wishes to withdraw from the course they must complete the following steps:

  1. Print out the Administrative Withdrawal Request form and complete it. This form can be obtained from the Registrar’s office or via the link in the course syllabus. Please note the form requires your advisor’s signature, in addition to the instructor’s signature.
  2. Contact me PRIOR TO 12:00 PM NOON on the last day to withdraw to discuss the withdrawal. The instructor will advise a time and date where the student can call or schedule an appointment to discuss the withdrawal. Withdrawal requests will NOT be approved by this instructor without either a face-to-face visit or telephone conversation.
  3. Do not assume that because you’ve sent an email to the instructor that you will be withdrawn from the course. Once the instructor has made a decision on the withdrawal, the student will be notified.
  4. Every effort will be made to ensure student success is a priority before withdrawals are approved.

Failure to drop or withdraw the course within a timely manner will result in the student receiving a performance grade, usually an “F”.


This course is divided into eight (8) weeks, with a corresponding checklist for each week containing all required preparation, reading and assignments.   Please review each checklist carefully to ensure you understand the requirements therein.  It is strongly suggested you print the checklists. Students will be required to turn in assignments on specified dates, as referenced on the course calendar, which can be accessed via the Calendar link under the course menu on the left sidebar of the course site.

The instructor reserves the right to make changes to the course schedule when deemed appropriate and/or necessary. Any and all changes made will be clearly communicated in a timely fashion. Below is a basic outline of the course and the topics covered therein. The course calendar provided on the class site contains more detailed information and includes due dates for all assignments.

Please note the reading for this course can be quite heavy at times, as the subject matter is extremely detailed. I recommend you work ahead on your reading as much as possible, utilizing the guided reading notes.


Week 1

 Introduction to course and classmates and overview of syllabus

Week 2 

Chapter 1: Criminal Investigation Overview

Chapter 2:  Documenting the Crime Scene: Note taking, Photography and sketching

Chapter 3: Writing Effective Reports

Week 3

Chapter 4:  Searches

Chapter 5:  Forensics/Physical Evidence

Chapter 6:  Obtaining Information and Intelligence

Chapter 7: Identifying and Arresting Suspects

Week 4

Chapter 8: Death Investigations

Chapter 9: Assault, Domestic Violence, Stalking, Elder Abuse

MidTerm Exam

Week 5

Chapter 10: Sex Offenses

Chapter 11: Crimes Against Children

Chapter 12: Robbery

Week 6

Chapter 13: Burglary

Chapter 14: Larceny Theft, Fraud & White-Collar Crime

Chapter 15: Motor Vehicle Theft

Chapter 16: Arson, Bombs, & Explosives

Week 7

Chapter 17

Chapter 18

Chapter 19

Chapter 21

Crime Scene Project Due

Week 8

Putting it All Together: Critical Reflection

Additional Information

This section contains important and helpful information on a variety of topics related to the class. If you need additional information on any other topic or aspect of the class, please refer to the START HERE!  site.   

Accessing Important Course Information

Students should log onto the course as early as possible on the FIRST DAY of the semester.

This course will progress quickly and the first assignment is due within days of the course beginning. When you log onto the course for the first time you will see an announcement directing you to the START HERE – Course Info page


Criminal Justice Departmental Policies


Tutoring/Assistance with Course

The Criminal Justice Department at Amarillo College endeavors to support each student’s goals for success by providing additional academic support services to those in need. If your cumulative grade average for this course falls below a 70, you will be strongly encouraged to access tutoring and other academic resources the instructor feels is appropriate.


Any student needing assistance with any aspect of the course content should contact me to schedule a tutoring session. Tutoring sessions are offered at no charge and can be conducted on campus or via telephone/email. Arrangements can be made to schedule a time that is convenient for the student.


Student Academic Help/ Student Resources

There are a variety of resources available to help students with issues they may be experiencing throughout the semester. You are encouraged to contact me with any questions or problems you might have while taking the course. In addition, you may access many of the various student resources at: You may also visit the Academic Help and/or Student Resources pages on the class site for more detailed information.


Reproduction of Course Materials

Students are prohibited from reproducing any portion of this class without written permission from the instructor of record or authorization through Disability Services. This includes, but is not limited to, lecture notes, class discussion boards or any other class materials. For purposes of the policy herein, “reproducing” applies to photographic reproduction, audio, video, or any other type of reproduction of course materials.

Students who create and/or share an unauthorized reproduction of course materials via any means, including social media, are violating an instructor's intellectual property rights and could potentially be subjected to disciplinary actions under the Amarillo College Student Code of Conduct. Additionally, should any reproduction be shown of proprietary materials, the student who created or shared the unauthorized reproduction may also be subject to copyright laws.

This policy has been adopted by all instructors in the Criminal Justice Department. Questions or concerns should be directed to Sarah E. Uselding, Program Coordinator and/or Eric Wallace, Director.


Extra-Credit Opportunities

Determinations regarding whether or not extra-credit opportunities will be afforded to students is at the discretion of the instructor. In the event an option for extra-credit is offered by the instructor, comprehensive guidelines and information will be provided to the student. Students are not required to participate in extra-credit opportunities. This policy has been adopted by all instructors in the Criminal Justice Department. Questions or concerns should be directed to Sarah E. Uselding, Program Coordinator and/or Eric Wallace, Director.


Student Complaints or Issues

A complaint is an allegation of improper, unfair, arbitrary or discriminatory treatment by college personnel. Students should attempt to resolve concerns informally with the instructor before filing a formal complaint. Any student or group of students may file a complaint concerning any campus issue. The Amarillo College Student Complaint Policy is described in detail in the Student Rights and Responsibilities document. If you have a complaint regarding me, or some aspect of the course, you should first contact your instructor immediately in person or via email and attempt to resolve the situation. If the situation can’t be resolved to your satisfaction, you should then contact Sarah Uselding, Program Coordinator,


Syllabus Created on:

03/17/22 10:13 AM

Last Edited on:

03/17/22 10:32 AM