Criminal Justice

Program Description

Criminal Justice practitioners and scholars are highly qualified, multi-skilled public safety professionals who collaborate with other entities in the American criminal justice system as well as the general public to prevent and control crime, ensure due process, rehabilitate convicted offenders, and implement evidence-based practices.

The Criminal Justice Leadership and Policy program is a post-baccalaureate academic program offered in the Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences, leading to a Master of Arts in Criminal Justice Leadership and Policy (MACJLP) degree. The MACJLP program ensures the highest quality of education by offering collective learning experiences that emphasize leadership, policy, and administration, which enable students to pursue numerous career paths and promotional advancement within the criminal justice field. 

The Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice is designed to provide students interested in careers in the American justice system with the knowledge, communication and critical thinking skills necessary for success in their field. The degree will also assist students with upward mobility in their area of employment. Graduates secure positions in law enforcement, courts, probation, parole and other aspects of corrections. Many also use this degree as the starting point in their pursuit of a law degree or graduate school.

The Bachelor of Applied Science in Criminal Justice combines the POST requirements of the AAS degree with the academic rigor of the baccalaureate degree.

The Associate of Applied Science (AAS) in Criminal Justice is designed for students who have completed or wish to complete the police academy program at Western Colorado Community College (WCCC) and incorporates instruction gained from the Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) program. Students in the AAS program must complete the essential learning requirements and choose additional law enforcement related courses either before or after completing the academy. Completion of the AAS in Criminal Justice may provide graduates with promotional opportunities in law enforcement areas, such as police and sheriff departments, state law enforcement agencies, probation and parole offices, liquor and marijuana enforcement or wildlife enforcement

. Law enforcement agencies in some areas require an AAS degree for entry-level positions.

The criminal justice minor is designed to provide students interested in the American justice system with the knowledge, communication and critical thinking skills necessary for success in their field. The forensic investigation - criminal justice minor combines courses in criminal justice with forensic investigation courses. It provides a student with a solid foundation in forensic investigation, and the recognition and collection of physical evidence. Students are better prepared to apply investigative concepts and techniques in the criminal justice profession.

The criminal justice program sponsors the Criminal Justice Association club, Mock Trial club, and a local chapter of the criminal justice honor society, Alpha Phi Sigma. Through active membership in these organizations, students learn from current practitioners in the field, become involved in community service projects, and take part in regional and national conferences and competitions.

Special Requirements

The Associate of Applied Science (AAS) degree is based on completing the Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) program at WCCC. (See the POST entry elsewhere in this section). Students who have completed the POST program must complete the essential learning requirements and five additional specified courses to earn an AAS.

Contact Information

Associate Degree:
Office of Student Services
WCCC, Bishop B102
2508 Blichmann Avenue
970.255.2670

Baccalaureate Degree:
Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences
Lowell Heiny Hall 413
970.248.1696

Criminal Justice (CRMJ)

CRMJ 110 Orientation to Criminal Justice Inquiry1 Credit

Foundations of criminal justice. Educational and career planning. Incorporation of APA writing skills for upper-division criminal justice courses.

Prerequisites: Must be a declared criminal justice pre-major.

CRMJ 196 Topics:1 Credit

Course may be taken multiple times up to maximum of 15 credit hours.

CRMJ 201 Introduction to Criminal Justice3 Credits

Philosophy, history and development of the American criminal justice system. Survey of the role of law enforcement agencies, the courts, jails, prisons, probation and parole in both juvenile and adult systems.

Prerequisites: CRMJ 110 (May be taken concurrently with CRMJ 201).

CRMJ 210 Emergency Dispatching4 Credits

Fundamentals of emergency dispatching. Includes basic principles of emergency communications operations and technology, call management and classification, legal aspects of dispatching, and stress management. Extensive practical training in police and fire emergency dispatching scenarios.

Prerequisites: ENGL 111, CRMJ 201, and MATH 107 or higher.

CRMJ 280 Crime Scene Processing2 Credits

Hands-on experience in the documentation, recognition, collection and preservation of evidence. Evidence development techniques used in the field will also be discussed. The course includes an introduction to crime scene photography. Students will be oriented in professional values, concepts, and ethics as well as exposed to current trends in the forensic science community.

Prerequisites: ENGL 111 or higher and MATH 110 or higher.

Corequisites: CRMJ 280L.

Terms Typically Offered: Fall.

CRMJ 280L Crime Scene Processing Laboratory1 Credit

Hands-on experience in the documentation, recognition, collection and preservation of evidence. Evidence development techniques used in the field will also be discussed. An introduction to crime scene photography. Students will be oriented in professional values, concepts, and ethics as well as exposed to current trends in the forensic science community.

Prerequisites: ENGL 111 or higher and MATH 110 or higher.

Corequisites: CRMJ 280.

Terms Typically Offered: Fall.

CRMJ 296 Topics1-4 Credits

Course may be taken multiple times up to maximum of 15 credit hours.

CRMJ 301 Criminal Procedure3 Credits

Analysis of landmark U.S. Supreme Court cases and their impact on operating procedures of law enforcement and the courts. Focuses on Fourth, Fifth, and Sixth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution.

Prerequisites: CRMJ 110, CRMJ 201, CRMJ 310, CRMJ 320, and CRMJ 328.

CRMJ 302 Ethics in Criminal Justice3 Credits

Examination of ethics in the criminal justice system from investigation, arrest, prosecution, defense, and corrections.

Prerequisites: CRMJ 310, CRMJ 320, and CRMJ 328.

CRMJ 310 The Police Process3 Credits

Basic features of policing in the United States. Police work, police organizations, police officers, and the critical problems facing policing today are examined in social and political context.

Prerequisites: CRMJ 201.

CRMJ 311 Victimology3 Credits

Study of crime victims, their numbers, common characteristics, and roles they play in their own victimization. Legal, psychological, and social perspectives explored. Various theoretical explanations regarding both first-time and repeat victimizations discussed.

Prerequisites: CRMJ 310, CRMJ 320, and CRMJ 328.

CRMJ 315 Research Methods in Criminal Justice3 Credits

Research methods and their application to Criminal Justice.

Prerequisites: CRMJ 310, CRMJ 320, CRMJ 328, MATH 110 or higher, and STAT 215.

CRMJ 320 Corrections3 Credits

The role of corrections in the criminal justice system: history, guiding philosophies and theories, treatment approaches, custody issues, and supervision of offenders on probation and parole.

Prerequisites: CRMJ 201 or permission of instructor.

CRMJ 325 Juvenile Justice and Delinquency3 Credits

Juvenile delinquency and juvenile justice in the United States. Comparative component involved. Focus on the nature and extent of delinquency, causes of delinquency, theoretical explanations, patterns of delinquency, and social reaction to delinquency.

Prerequisites: CRMJ 310, CRMJ 320, and CRMJ 328.

CRMJ 328 American Court Systems3 Credits

The American court system; local, state, and national, including consideration of the impact of prosecutors, defense personnel, judges, and other factors on court decisions and the criminal justice system.

Prerequisites: CRMJ 201 or POLS 101.

Equivalent Course(s): POLS 328

CRMJ 330 Intimate Partner Violence3 Credits

Exploration of intimate partner violence including contributing individual, structural, and cultural factors, as well as various offender patterns and typologies. Examines why victims stay in abusive relationships, the consequences of intimate partner violence, and various system responses.

Prerequisites: CRMJ 310, CRMJ 320, and CRMJ 328.

Terms Typically Offered: Spring.

CRMJ 335 Community Policing3 Credits

Contemporary policing philosophy used and accepted by most policing organizations, domestic and foreign. Concept of community policing, history of the movement as well as the various issues in its adoption and implementation. Philosophy of community policing affecting both policing organizations and the community. Impact of community policing on crime, fear of crime, and the community in which utilized.

Prerequisites: CRMJ 310, CRMJ 320, and CRMJ 328.

CRMJ 340 Community Corrections3 Credits

Applied and practical approach to community corrections. Assessment, supervision, reintegration, and community partnerships emphasized. Special needs populations, unique issues and challenges, and insights into day-to-day experiences of various community corrections practitioners examined.

Prerequisites: CRMJ 310, CRMJ 320, and CRMJ 328.

CRMJ 345 Mental Illness and Crime3 Credits

Exploration of the role and impact of mental illness in various aspects of the criminal justice system. Context, treatment, and impact of mental health and illness in relation to crime will be considered.

Prerequisites: CRMJ 310, CRMJ 320, and CRMJ 328.

Terms Typically Offered: Spring.

CRMJ 360 Crime and Deviance3 Credits

Relationship between crime, deviance, and social control. Differences in definitions of criminal and deviant behaviors explored. Various criminological and sociological theories of deviance analyzed. Focus on relation to crime and social control. Societal response to deviance critically examined.

Prerequisites: CRMJ 310, CRMJ 320, and CRMJ 328.

CRMJ 370 Criminology3 Credits

Major paradigms in the field of criminology and major contributions to the field in the U.S. and abroad. Emphasis on socio-historical development and philosophical movements that shaped criminological theory and its implications for criminal justice.

Prerequisites: CRMJ 310, CRMJ 320, and CRMJ 328.

CRMJ 375 Women and Crime3 Credits

Nature of criminality pertaining to women. How and why women are treated differently than males in the criminal justice system. Analysis of why women make up a small but growing portion of criminal offenders. Explores the ramifications of criminal activity on women. Possible solutions and alternatives to the unique issues of female offenders.

Prerequisites: CRMJ 310, CRMJ 320, and CRMJ 328.

CRMJ 380 Crisis Intervention in Criminal Justice3 Credits

Examination of crisis typologies encountered throughout the criminal justice system. The methods and techniques employed by criminal justice professionals to respond to, contain, and de-escalate various forms of chaos, mayhem, and disorder are also examined.

Prerequisites: CRMJ 310, CRMJ 320, and CRMJ 328.

Terms Typically Offered: Spring, Summer.

CRMJ 395 Independent Study1-3 Credits

Prerequisites: CRMJ 310, CRMJ 320, and CRMJ 328.

Course may be taken multiple times up to maximum of 6 credit hours.

CRMJ 396 Topics1-3 Credits

Prerequisites: CRMJ 310, CRMJ 320, and CRMJ 328.

Course may be taken multiple times up to maximum of 15 credit hours.

CRMJ 405 Civil Liability for Law Enforcement and Corrections3 Credits

Overview of civil liability of law enforcement and correctional officers. Torts and civil rights remedies, the doctrine of respondent superior, and chain of liability. Specific issues of use of force, failure to protect, searches and segregation, inadequate medical care, and negligence examined.

Prerequisites: CRMJ 310, CRMJ 320, and CRMJ 328.

CRMJ 410 Criminal Investigations3 Credits

Analysis of the investigative process and techniques employed in a contemporary criminal investigation. Considers theory and methodology of criminal investigation, and legal dynamics relative to achieving the major goals of an investigation. Use of practical and interactive experiences involves students in the investigative process by utilizing field exercises such as evidence collection and preservation, simulations related to crime scenes, surveillance activities, victim/suspect interviews and interrogations, and sound case preparation.

Prerequisites: CRMJ 310, CRMJ 320, and CRMJ 328.

CRMJ 412 Constitutional Law3 Credits

An analysis of American constitutional theory as articulated by the U. S. Supreme Court. Specific topics include the nature of judicial review, the powers of the President and Congress, federalism, the regulation of commerce and the development of substantive due process.

Prerequisites: CRMJ 310, CRMJ 320, and CRMJ 328.

Equivalent Course(s): POLS 412

CRMJ 415 Counter-Terrorism and Law Enforcement3 Credits

Emergence of modern terrorism and efforts to combat it. Strategies and systems involved in protecting against and responding to threats. Survey of major policies, practices, concepts, and challenges confronting practitioners in the complex field of counterterrorism and homeland security. Exploration of various issues facing law enforcement agencies in counterterrorism efforts.

Prerequisites: CRMJ 310, CRMJ 320, and CRMJ 328.

CRMJ 420 Criminal Law3 Credits

Philosophy, history and current state of criminal law with emphasis on analysis and application of Colorado Statutes and the American Law Institute Model Penal Code.

Prerequisites: CRMJ 310, CRMJ 320, and CRMJ 328.

CRMJ 425 Trial, Evidence and Legal Advocacy3 Credits

Development of written and oral advocacy skills through critical examination of legal issues, focusing on the interpretation of statutory laws and analysis of relevant case law to formulate sound, persuasive argument throughout the adversarial process. Considers trial procedure and the law of evidence.

Prerequisites: CRMJ 310, CRMJ 320, and CRMJ 328.

CRMJ 435 White-Collar Crimes3 Credits

Examination of white-collar crime in the United States. Topics include crimes against consumers, corporate and securities fraud, environmental crime, medical crime, computer fraud, and public corruption are discussed. Individual, corporate, and governmental crimes and their societal impacts are explored. Investigative, prosecutorial, and preventative measures are also examined.

Prerequisites: CRMJ 310, CRMJ 320, and CRMJ 328.

Terms Typically Offered: Fall, Summer.

CRMJ 440 Capital Punishment3 Credits

Examination of the issues related to the death penalty in the United States, including the history of capital punishment, important Supreme Court decisions, the process of capital punishment, the comparative costs of incarceration and execution, miscarriages of justice in capital cases, and how the criminal justice system responds to these issues.

Prerequisites: CRMJ 310, CRMJ 320, and CRMJ 328, or permission of instructor.

CRMJ 445 Media and Crime3 Credits

Exploration of the impact of media on our perceptions of the “reality” of crime and criminals. Also includes exploration of the portrayal of various areas of the criminal justice system and the employees therein.

Prerequisites: CRMJ 310, CRMJ 320, and CRMJ 328.

Terms Typically Offered: Spring.

CRMJ 465 Contemporary Issues in Criminal Justice3 Credits

Focused analysis of specific contemporary issues in criminal justice. Topics vary according to current events and instructor expertise.

Prerequisites: CRMJ 310, CRMJ 320, and CRMJ 328.

CRMJ 470 Restorative Justice3 Credits

Examination of the realm of restorative justice, which aims to repair the harm caused by crime. Fundamental principles and practices, as well as the roles of key stakeholders will be covered.

Prerequisites: CRMJ 310, CRMJ 320, and CRMJ 328.

Terms Typically Offered: Spring, Summer.

CRMJ 480 Inside-Out Prison Exchange3 Credits

Examination of issues involving crime and justice, the criminal justice system, corrections, and imprisonment through facilitated dialogue between students and current prisoners.

Prerequisites: CRMJ 310, CRMJ 320, and CRMJ 328, and permission of instructor.

CRMJ 490 Comparative Criminal Justice3 Credits

Capstone course. Includes survey of selected international criminal justice systems, including police, courts, and correctional components. International perspectives of policing, courts, and corrections examined to determine variations across countries. Topics of transnational crime, terrorism, and juvenile justice explored from a global perspective to determine if the United States significantly differs in methodology, intensity, and focus of public policy. Special emphasis placed on geographical, historical, and cultural perspectives that make the systems unique and/or similar to those in the United States.

Prerequisites: CRMJ 310, CRMJ 320, and CRMJ 328.

CRMJ 495 Independent Study1-3 Credits

Prerequisites: CRMJ 310, CRMJ 320, and CRMJ 328.

Course may be taken multiple times up to maximum of 6 credit hours.

CRMJ 496 Topics1-3 Credits

Prerequisites: CRMJ 310, CRMJ 320, and CRMJ 328.

Course may be taken multiple times up to maximum of 15 credit hours.

CRMJ 499 Internship1-15 Credits

Opportunities to apply theoretical principles in a structured organizational or work environment. Prior instructor and site approval required at least one semester in advance. Required clock hours dependent upon credit hours.

Prerequisites: CRMJ 310, CRMJ 320, and CRMJ 328.

Course may be taken multiple times up to maximum of 15 credit hours.

CRMJ 511 Foundational Seminar3 Credits

Introduction to graduate level studies, program expectations, and ethical considerations for research in criminal justice.

Terms Typically Offered: Fall, Spring.

CRMJ 512 Public Policy Analysis3 Credits

Overview of public policy theories, formulation, and administration in the context of applied federal, state, and local criminal justice governance and policy decision-making. The relationship between politics and administration is examined with reference to the classical policy/administration dichotomy, stages of the policy process, and citizen engagement.

Terms Typically Offered: Fall, Spring, Summer.

CRMJ 513 Ethics in Criminal Justice Leadership3 Credits

Exploration of ethical leadership as a process of influence within and across criminal justice organizations. Examines how leaders can effectively address conflicts when formulating and implementing policies and programs.

Terms Typically Offered: Fall, Spring, Summer.

CRMJ 514 Research Methods and Data Analysis3 Credits

Methods of scientific inquiry applied to criminal justice issues. Includes formulation of research questions, logic of inquiry, research design, measurement, and introduction to social statistics and applications to criminal justice data analysis.

Terms Typically Offered: Fall, Spring, Summer.

CRMJ 515 Advanced Criminological Theory3 Credits

Major paradigms in the field of Criminology. Emphasis on biosocial roots of crime, control theories, labeling theories, and conflict theories and their implications for Criminal Justice.

Terms Typically Offered: Fall, Spring.

CRMJ 516 Leadership in Criminal Justice3 Credits

Examination of leadership theories from classic to contemporary. The concepts of leadership, power, authority, and management will be contrasted. The leader-follower dynamic is explored. Students will build the confidence and skills needed to become leaders in the field through the development and defense of a model of leadership.

Terms Typically Offered: Fall, Spring, Summer.

CRMJ 520 Budgeting and Finance in Criminal Justice3 Credits

Introduction to the theory and practice of budgeting at all levels of government. Budget terminology, methodologies, preparation, implementation, evaluation, accounting and financial reporting systems, revenue sources, and capital improvement budgeting are examined.

Terms Typically Offered: Fall, Spring, Summer.

CRMJ 521 Evidence-Based Practices in Criminal Justice3 Credits

Examination of program development and evaluation using evidence-based practices in a criminal justice context.

Terms Typically Offered: Fall, Spring, Summer.

CRMJ 522 Strategic Planning for Criminal Justice Agencies3 Credits

Examination and analysis of the strategic planning process, goal setting, and strategic management in criminal justice organizations and how external environments and internal dynamics impact planning procedures.

Terms Typically Offered: Fall, Spring, Summer.

CRMJ 523 Police Management and Administration3 Credits

Examination of law enforcement management, administration, and organizational behavior. Topics examined include power dynamics, human motivation, teamwork, conflict management, interpersonal communication, decision-making, and managing organizational change.

Terms Typically Offered: Fall, Spring, Summer.

CRMJ 524 Legal Issues in Criminal Justice3 Credits

Examination of legal issues as they impact Criminal Justice. Emphasis on how policy is derived and affected by legal decisions. Topics vary based upon contemporary concerns and expertise of instructor.

Terms Typically Offered: Fall, Spring, Summer.

CRMJ 525 Critical Issues in Corrections3 Credits

Historical development of institutions for confinement and analysis of present trends in correctional practice. Reviews characteristics of various correctional policies and prison life. Special emphasis on current trends and controversies.

Terms Typically Offered: Fall, Spring, Summer.

CRMJ 526 Contemporary Issues in Criminal Justice3 Credits

Focused analysis of contemporary issues in Criminal Justice. Topics vary according to current events and instructor expertise.

Terms Typically Offered: Fall, Spring, Summer.

CRMJ 593 Master’s Culminating Experience3 Credits

Comprehensive and synthesized final project. Students complete final project under the supervision of a faculty mentor.

Prerequisites: CRMJ 511, CRMJ 512, CRMJ 513, CRMJ 514, CRMJ 515, and CRMJ 516.

Terms Typically Offered: Fall, Spring, Summer.

Course may be taken 5 times for credit.

Criminal Justice - POST (CRJW)

CRJW 101 Basic Police Academy6 Credits

Conforms to POST standards and state certification requirements as well as the basic skills and knowledge necessary to perform the entry level duties of a peace officer. Emphasis will be on simulating actual situations utilizing a lecture and laboratory mode of learning.

Prerequisites: Permission of Academy Director.

Fees: Yes.

CRJW 102 Basic Police Academy II10 Credits

Conforms to POST standards and state certification requirements as well as the basic skills and knowledge to perform the entry level duties of a peace officer. Emphasis will be on simulating actual situations utilizing a lecture and laboratory mode of learning.

Prerequisites: Permission of Academy Director.

Fees: Yes.

CRJW 105 Basic Law6 Credits

Conforms to POST standards and state certification requirements as well as the basic skills and knowledge necessary to perform the entry level duties of a peace officer. Emphasis will be on United States Constitution, arrest, search and seizure, interrogation and confessions, rules of evidence, Colorado Criminal Code, Colorado Traffic Code, Colorado Children's Code, Liquor Code and controlled substances.

Prerequisites: Permission of Academy Director.

Fees: Yes.

CRJW 106 Arrest Control3 Credits

Covers the skills, knowledge and abilities necessary to effectively maintain control of a suspect when making an arrest. Emphasizes the continuum of force and de-escalation of force.

Prerequisites: Permission of Academy Director.

Fees: Yes.

CRJW 107 Law Enforcement Driving2 Credits

Covers the skills, knowledge and abilities required for operation of a law enforcement vehicle. Emphasizes defensive driving. Enables students to demonstrate skills by driving a vehicle under simulated conditions.

Prerequisites: Permission of Academy Director.

Fees: Yes.

CRJW 108 Firearms3 Credits

Discusses the skills, knowledge and abilities necessary to safely use police firearms. Students will demonstrate skills by firing weapons on a firing range. The student will demonstrate basic safety techniques and will explain the firearms role within the continuum of force.

Prerequisites: Permission of Academy Director.

Fees: Yes.

CRJW 210 Emergency Dispatching4 Credits

Introduction to the basic fundamentals of emergency dispatching, to include basic principles of emergency communications operations and technology, call management and classification, legal aspects of dispatching, and stress management. Extensive practical training in police and fire emergency dispatching scenarios.

Prerequisites: ENGL 111, MATH 107 or higher, CRMJ 201, and permission of instructor.

CRJW 296 Topics1-4 Credits

Course may be taken multiple times up to maximum of 15 credit hours.