Please print this syllabus. Don't count on it being available online.

POLICING – Fall 2017

Faculty information (UPS item 1)

Instructor: Julius (Jay) Wachtel
Office: LH 624
Office hours: Mondays, 5:30-6:30 pm
Tel.: (657) 278-6740 (only answered while in the office - e-mail greatly preferred)
E-mail: jwachtel (at)

Course information (UPS item 2)

CRJU 315-03, #20721, MW 4-5:15p, MH 406.

Course description and learning goals

     This course examines the evolution of policing and the influence of social trends, crime, technology, interest groups and politics on what officers do, and how. Students study the characteristics of police work in various settings, examine legal and practical constraints such as discretion, ambiguity, risk and uncertainty, and examine how factors such as isolation, peer pressure, secrecy and community culture shape officer behavior.

     If there's a single sentence that best describes the goal of this course, it's to help current and future criminal justice practitioners make prudent decisions and resist pressures to do what's expedient instead of what's right.


Critical Issues in Policing, by Roger Dunham and Geoffrey Alpert, 7th. Ed., Waveland Press

Required readings

1. Everything under the heading "readings" on the schedule. Includes selected chapters from Critical Issues in Policing and linked online materials.

2. Weekly slide shows, linked on schedule

3. Police Issues blog posts, linked on schedule

Grading standards and policy, exams, paper and panel (UPS items 3, 4, 5)

Grading standards and policy

     100 points can be earned: 20 for each exam, 20 for the paper, five each for the slides and presentation, and up to 10 for attendance (two points for being present on dates when other students present.) Normally the A = 90, B = 80, etc. scheme is followed, except that scores may be adjusted ("curved") at the end of the term to reflect class performance.

     There are no extra credit assignments. The +/- system is not used.


     There are three exams – two midterms and a final. Each exam is comprised of multiple-choice questions from assigned book chapters, other required readings, and slide shows.

     Makeup exams may only be given for only one midterm and only for a documented emergency. Students who cannot take a midterm on the scheduled date should e-mail. Makeup exams must be taken during the next scheduled class session.

     Each exam is a required component of the course. Unexcused failure to take an exam, failure to take a makeup on schedule, or any instance of academic dishonesty will result in a term grade of "F".

Papers and panel presentations

     Papers and presentations

     Each student will use text chapters, NIJ publications and other trustworthy academic sources to analyze and comment on situations and events described in an assigned Police Issues blog post. Please note that blog posts are keyed to the most recent topic discussed in class, so students must focus their analysis on that topic. For example, presentations that take place on the date after "policing strategies" are covered should relate to policing strategies. Of course, this requires that presenters read ahead and if necessary consult with the instructor to obtain guidance and make sure they are on the right track.

     This assignment has three distinct aspects:

  • Blog post: detailed summary of blog post, focusing on key situations and events
  • Outside sources: detailed summary of material in text chapter(s), NIJ publications and other trustworthy academic sources that is relevant to the situations and events described in the blog post (don't analyze or make connections yet!)
  • Application: how the material in the text chapters and other sources can help understand, explain and remedy (fix and/or prevent) the situations and events discussed in the blog post.

     Students accomplish the following:

  • Prepare a formal paper that sets out each of the above aspects in sequence
  • Condense the paper into a series of concise bullet points and place them on three Power Point slides, with one slide for each aspect (see example)
  • Use the slides to help deliver 5-minute classroom presentations

     NOTE: It is not necessary to include everything in the assigned blog post. It is best to focus on one or two key themes, situations and/or events and cover these in depth.

Paper (20 points)

     Students will complete an academically acceptable, four to five page paper that conveys the substance of their assignment in detail. A separate section is required for each of the three aspects of the assignment listed above.

     Students should use twelve-point type, one-inch margins and double-space.

     Text chapters and external sources should be referenced by chapter name or publication title and page number and appear in endnotes.

     Page 0 is the title page. Pages 1-3 or 1-4 are for the three sections. Page 4 or, if needed, page 5 is for the endnotes.

     A full printout of the blog post must be attached to the paper.

     Students must use completely original sentences and paragraphs. They MAY NOT mimic paragraphs or sentences in the blog post, chapters or other references, for example, by rearranging or substituting words. Information must be conveyed in a clear, well-organized manner and make perfect sense to ordinary, non-academic readers. NO technical terms. NO quotations, even if declared. Strict plagiarism rules apply. For the CSUF reference on academic integrity and plagiarism, click here.

     Papers will be graded on originality, coverage, clarity of expression, organization, and spelling and grammar.

     Papers with attached blog post printouts will be turned in immediately after the presentation. Papers and blog post printouts must be turned in to receive credit for the course.

PowerPoint slides (5 points)

     Students will reduce their paper to four PowerPoint slides (one title slide and three content slides) that will be used as prompts during the presentation and to help the audience follow along. They should not be read from.

     Each slide is broken down into bullet points that concisely convey key aspects of the paper. Detailed information should be saved for oral delivery. Slides should be black lettering on a white background. NO pictures or graphics.

     Slide shows should closely follow this example. (Blog post was "When (Very) Hard Heads Collide." Outside sources include text chapter 4 and an official report by the City of Cambridge. Both would be identified in the paper's endnotes.)

The Asshole goby1

The Asshole goby2

The Asshole goby3

The Asshole goby4


    Oral presentation (five points)

     Each student will orally deliver a concise, factual summary of their paper. Five minutes is allotted, plus time for responding to questions from the audience and instructor.

     Presentations should be rehearsed. Slides and papers must not be read from. That will lead to a loss of points.

     Making a presentation on the scheduled date and turning in all required materials are required components of the course. Failure to fulfill these requirements will result in a term grade of "F".

Accommodations, academic integrity (UPS items 6-7)

Accomodations for documented special needs:

Academic integrity:

Emergency Instructions (UPS item 8)

Emergency instructions homepage:

Active shooters and hostage-takers – escape and shelter in place information:

  • Depending on the suspect's proximity, quickly decide whether to stay or run.
  • Either way, spread out.
  • If shelter in place, lock or barricade the door.
  • Take whatever cover is available. Use furniture to your advantage.
  • Quietly plan what to do if suspect gets in. Confronting the shooter is an option.
  • If run away, keep spread out. Use multiple routes.
  • Don't charge into arriving officers. Keep both arms visible.
  • Call 911 asap. Don't wait for others to do it.

Earthquakes and fires

  • In case of earthquake, drop and cover.
  • In case of a fire, leave immediately. Use the stairs.
  • Assembly point is the adjacent faculty parking lot.

Classroom management

Cell phones, pagers and laptops

     Please set cell phones and pagers to silent mode. Feel free to step outside if necessary and to come back when your business is done.

     Absolutely NO use of laptops or other electronic devices in class. Keep lids shut. No recording. Laptops and other devices are distracting to users, other students and the instructor. Recording can inhibit the free exchange of information. Please take notes the old-fashioned way and plan your online activities accordingly. Why the rule? For an illustrated reason, click here.

     Note: students with special needs are excepted. Please bring your form on the first day of class.

Schedule, including assignments and topics (UPS item 5)

Note: This schedule lacks slide show and other important links and is always "out of date."
For the most current schedule with live links see the homepage

Week 1 - 8/21 & 23: Policing history
Readings: Text chps. 1 & 2
Other: Early history of British police (first 9:15)   August Vollmer

Week 2 - 8/28 & 30: Police role and subculture
Readings: Text chps. 5, 7, 8;  What is Patrol Work? 
Police Issues: Oakland: How Could it Happen?  Kicking a Suspect  When Hard Heads Collide   Who Deserves a Break?
Other: A day in the life of a police officer  Gulfport police shift keeps busy  One police shift  This is what being a Seattle cop is like

Week 3 - 9/4: No class, campus closed

Week 3 - 9/6: Recruitment, selection and training
Reading: Law Enforcement Training: Changes and Challenges 
Other: LASD Academy OIR Report  LASD Hiring Standards OIR Report

Week 4 - 9/11: Recruitment, selection and training (cont'd)

Week 4 - 9/13: Student presentations 1-4
Police Issues: (1) A Dead Marine  (2) Police Academy  (3) What Should it Take to be Hired?
(4) Teaching Police Departments?

Week 5 - 9/18: EXAM 1 (weeks 1-4)

Week 5 - 9/20: Police organizations

Week 6 - 9/25: Police organizations (cont'd)

Week 6 - 9/27: Student presentations 5-7
Police Issues: (5) Mission Not Accomplished  (6) Ex-Commish leaves Carona in the Dust
(7) Are Civilians Too Easy on the Police?

Week 7 - 10/2 & 4: Policing strategies
Readings: Text chps. 25, 26, 27, 28
Other: Chicago PD 10-year COPS evaluation  Center for POP   POP/Pulling levers  Hot-spot policing  NY City and "broken windows"

Week 8 - 10/9: Student presentations 8-12
Police Issues: (8) RIP Community Policing?
(9) What Can Cops Really Do?  (10) Too Much of a Good Thing?  (11) Slapping Lipstick I  (12) Slapping Lipstick II

Week 8 - 10/11: Student presentations 13-17
Police Issues: (13) Hot-spot policing  (14) First, Do no Harm  (15) Having Your Cake
(16) Forty Years After Kansas City  (17) An Illusion of Control

Week 9 - 10/16 & 18: Special problems
Readings: Text chp. 15; NIJ: Radicalization and Violent Extremism; NIJ: Lone Wolf terrorists; NIJ: Police Response to Gangs study (focus on conclusions); Police Foundation: Policing Terrorism
Other: NIJ search results: terrorism  NIJ publicatons search: terrorism & radicalization  Managing Mass Demonstrations  Murder and Extremism in the U.S.  COINTELPRO - Extract  Wikipedia  Rodney King riot video

Week 10 - 10/23: Student presentations 18-21
Police Issues: (18) Doing Nothing  (19) Flying Under the Radar  (20) Sometimes There is no Second Chance  (21) After the Fact

Week 10 - 10/25: Student presentations 22-25
Police Issues: (22) TakingBombs From Strangers  (23) The Gangs of L.A.  (24) Location, Location, Location  (25) Getting Out of Dodge

Week 11 - 10/30: EXAM 2 (weeks 5-10)

Week 11 - 11/1: Use of force
Readings: Text chps. 29, 30, 31, 32
Other: LAPD Use of Force Policy  LAPD Pursuit policy

Week 12 - 11/6 & 8: Use of force (cont'd)

Week 13 - 11/13: Student presentations 26-30
Police Issues: (26) WhenCops Kill (Part I) and PartII  (27) To Err is Human  (28) Making Time
(29) Sometimes a Drunk  (30) Homeless, Mentally Ill, Dead

Week 13 - 11/15: Student presentations 31-35
Police Issues:  (31) Does Race Matter? (Part I) and Part II (32) De-escalation  (33) More Rules, Less Force?  (34) Good Guy/Bad Guy/Black Guy (Part I)
(35) Good Guy/Bad Guy/Black Guy (Part II)

Week 14 - 11/20 & 22: Fall break - campus closed

Week 15 - 11/27 & 29: Conduct and ethics
Slide show
Readings: Text chps. 6, 10, 11, 12, 13

Week 16 - 12/4: Student presentations 36-40
Police Issues: (36) Liars Figure  (37) Meltdown in SoCal  (38) The Numbers Game  (39) Orange is the New Brown  (40) Why do Cops Succeed?

Week 16 - 12/6: Towards a new paradigm of policing
Reading: Text chp. 33
Other: The Craft of Policing  Production and Craftsmanship in Police Narcotics Enforcement

Week 17 - Dec. 13, 5:00-6:50 pm: FINAL EXAM (weeks 11-16)