Police officer courses are offered through bachelor's and master's degree programs in law enforcement and criminal justice. They're also available through police academy programs, which are typically only available to individuals who have been hired by a police department. The minimum education required for police officers is often only a high school diploma, though some departments may require some formal college-level training. All aspiring police officers must pass background checks, physical exams and a police academy training program.
Here are common concepts taught in police officer courses:
- Police history
- Future of policing
- Crime mapping
List of Courses
Policing Fundamentals Course
Introductory police officer courses such as this familiarize students with the role and responsibilities of police officers and how officers operate in the criminal justice system. Legal issues regarding police officer's roles are examined by studying the Constitution, the penal system and civil procedures. Steps for police patrolling and an overview of what they look for when patrolling are discussed. To take this course, students must be hired or sponsored by a police department or law enforcement agency.
Crime Prevention Course
In a crime prevention course, future police officers become familiar with how law enforcement and criminal investigation address citizens' needs. Students examine and begin implementing crime prevention theories to see the pros and cons of each. Security structures and response systems that include commercial, retail and government needs are discussed in this class. Students learn about victims' and perpetrators' rights and the professional behavior expected of officers.
Crime Analysis Course
Students learn how to determine the type of crimes committed and methods for addressing those crimes at local, state and federal levels of law enforcement. By studying crimes committed, collecting evidence and analyzing data, students learn how to predict and anticipate future criminal events. To become familiar with the crime analysis process and analysis techniques, prospective police officers read case studies, sit through lectures and study old crimes. Updates in technology and tools in police fieldwork are also included.
Intermediate to advanced courses, such as counterintelligence, address ways information is gathered and counter responses are developed. Ways to use these methods for counter-terrorism purposes are discussed in the context of protecting America's interests. Students learn about tactics for gathering information and planning responses. They also gain hands-on experience using technology and tools used in the field.
Processing Evidence in Criminal Investigations Course
In this advanced class, students conduct interviews and interrogations following proper techniques. Students learn techniques for identifying, gathering, processing, collecting and analyzing evidence for criminal investigations. Laws regarding how evidence can and cannot be used in court as well as how criminals must be treated are also discussed in this course. Students discover how evidence is presented in court. Some courses include practical experience, where students study evidence or sit in court proceedings to see and hear how evidence is presented.