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Overview of Police Science Classes and Courses

Police science courses prepare students for careers in law enforcement operations or administration. These courses are usually part of a certificate program in police science or an undergraduate or graduate degree program in public safety, police studies or criminal justice. Read on to learn more about typical courses you can find in police science programs.

Essential Information

Some form of training is needed in order to become a police officer. Some larger state and local police departments have their own police academies, while smaller jurisdictions direct applicants to programs at a state or regional academy. Additionally, some police departments prefer applicants with a college degree or some college work. Many community colleges and universities offer degree programs in areas like criminal justice or law enforcement. Typical course subjects will include the following:

  • Criminal justice fundamentals
  • Policing techniques
  • Types of crime
  • Police misconduct
  • Culture of law enforcement

List of Courses

Basic Criminal Justice Course

Participants examine how the court system, corrections and policing are linked by the criminal justice system. Students learn the principles of criminal law along with how the prosecution prepares for a case. This course discusses the identification and classification of crimes. Individuals learn the techniques and procedures peace officers use to present evidence in the courtroom.

Police Administration Course

Students review the functions and operations of a police agency, from administration and personnel to public relations and research. They explore the financial aspects of managing the department, including budgeting, allocation of resources and cost accounting. This course discusses various topics, such as recruitment, labor relations, stress counseling and career development.

Police Ethics Course

This course identifies the various ethical concerns encountered by peace officers. Individuals explore issues like the use of deadly force, discretion, civil disobedience, privacy and affirmative action, along with strategies to deal with these issues. Also covered is officer conduct and what is expected from them by the police department and the community.

Community Policing Course

This course presents an overview of the current concepts in community policing. Students learn how to identify community issues and to use the latest technologies and strategies to address them. It explores the advantages and disadvantages of community policing.

Police Patrol Course

This course reviews the basic procedures, responses and expectations of officers on patrol. Individuals examine standing operating practices, general orders and current regulations. Students compare existing patrol practices used by police agencies domestically and internationally. They learn what factors influence the size, type and distribution of a patrol force. Other topics include appropriate responses to hostage and terrorist situations, drug abuse and prostitution.


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