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Law Enforcement 

Law Enforcement Course

This is a second level course designed for high schools. The course surveys law enforcement giving students a great basic understanding of the career. Please review the note in the course description advising schools to ensure students enrolled in the course have the opportunity to have a career in this area. The recommended prerequisite for this course is Introduction to Law and Public Safety. 

To learn more about LAPSEN Courses and Standards – click here

Be sure to review the entire course standards first – click here 

Lesson Plan and Resource Links

Click on any of the sections below to see the standards for that section. Each has links to pages that will list lessons and resources that match that standard or standard’s element.

Most teachers do not teach in order of the standards as they are listed. Most organize the standards in an order that makes sense to them and addresses their local teaching environment. As a result, you may find standards split into multiple units. Ethics is a a good example – as many teachers teach ethics across several units and not on its own.

Not all standards are weighted equally. The course has suggested time to be dedicated to any one section. However, teachers have the discretion to adjust as needed. The main accountability is the course or pathway test. As long as students are learning the material and retaining it, most teachers have flexibility to implement the standards as they see fit.

Click on the Section below to have it open to show the standards and the link to the resources. 

Resources are being added.

Please – submit YOUR lessons and resources. Email to learn how. 

Section 1: Law Enforcement History, Crime Awareness & Causes of Crime

Click Here for the Section 1 Resource Page


Standard 1: Students will describe a brief history of law enforcement.

A.      Describe British influences

B.      Compare Early American policing

C.      Describe the emerging professionalism era

D.      Delineate changes in the modern era

Standard 2: Student will explain Peace officer authority in the United States

A.      Identify origins of state authority

B.      Describe the emergence of federal authority

C.      Identify the limitations on officer authority

Standard 3: Student will describe the Bill of Rights and the rights for citizens and police

A.      Differentiate between origins of laws: Common law, Criminal Code, Case Law

B.      Describe the history of the Bill of Rights

C.      Analyze the Bill of Rights and its application

D.      Define how the Bill of Rights impacts the criminal justice system.

E.       Identify the application of the 1st, 4th, 5th, 6th, 8th and 14th amendments found in the Bill of Rights

F.       Identify rights for citizens and police

Standard 4: Student will compare crime statistics and reports

A.      Explain how crimes are reported

B.      Define clearance rates

C.      Explain Uniform Crime Reports (UCR)

D.      Compare National Incident-based reporting systems (NIBRS) to UCR

E.       Explain why all crime is not reported

F.       Describe the use of National Crime Victimization Surveys

Standard 5: Students will differentiate between causes of crime

A.      Describe criminological theory

   a.  Describe psychological explanations

   b.  Describe sociological explanations

   c.  Describe biological theory

   d.  Explain integration of theories

B.      Compare research in mental illness and crime.

Section 2: Law, Criminal Justice & Trial Proceedings

Click Here for the Section 2 Resource Page


Standard 1: Student will understand the general provisions of the legal system

A.      Explain principles of criminal responsibilities and procedures for prosecuting violations of law

   a.  Procedures and due Process

   b.  Standard of Proof

   c.  Appeal process

B.      Describe classification of criminal offenses

C.      Explain the structure and application of criminal laws, ordinances, and regulations.

   a.  Criminal Code

   b.  Vehicle Code

   c.  Juvenile Court Act

   d.  Local laws and ordinances

D.      Distinguish between the sources of law.

   a.  Common Law

   b.  Statutory Law

   c.  Case Law

   d.  Administrative Law

   e.  Torts

   f.  International law

E.       Distinguish between the types of law.

   a.  Crime against persons

   b.  Crimes against property

   c.  Crimes against the administration of government

   d.  Crimes against public order and decency

   e.  Offenses against public health, safety, welfare, and morals

   f.  Controlled substances

F.       Identify the elements of the offense

G.      Differentiate between jurisdiction and venue

H.      Classify crimes

   a.  Federal Offenses

   b.  State Offenses

   c.  Felonies

   d.  Misdemeanors

   e.  Petty Offenses/Ordinance Violation

   f.  Local laws and ordinances

Standard 2: Describe the criminal justice system

A.      List the components of the criminal justice system

a.       Law Enforcement

b.       Courts

c.       Corrections

B.      Differentiate between the roles and responsibilities of members of the courtroom

   a.       Power of the prosecutor

   b.       Relationship between defendant and defense attorney

   c.       Brady material and discovery

C.      Describe the court process

   a.       Courts of original jurisdiction

   b.       Rules of evidence

   c.       Order of court proceedings

   d.       Alternatives to court

   e.       Jury and bench trials

D.      Describe pre-trial proceedings

   a.       Bail

   b.       Grand jury

   c.       Indictment

   d.       Motions

   e.       Plea bargaining

   f.        Jury selection

E.       Identify justifications and excuses

F.       Diagram the trial process

G.      Explain sentencing

H.      Explain the function of the appellate courts

   a.       Wrongful convictions

I.         Distinguish other types of courts in the U.S. legal system.


Section 3: Corrections & Juvenile

Click Here for the Section 3 Resource Page


Standard 1:  Students will understand the Adult Corrections System

A.      Describe the philosophy and goals of corrections.

B.      Explain the trends in corrections, including the death penalty.

C.      Describe the life and rights of prisoners in both State and County Corrections.

Standard 2:  Students will understand the Juvenile System

A.      Analyze the juvenile system and explain juvenile legal terms

B.      Explain the differences of:

   a.    Detention v. arrest

   b.    Intake v. booking

   c.    Petition v. complaint

   d.    Hearing v. trial

   e.    Disposition v. sentencing

C. Describe expungement and jurisdiction

D.  Discuss the various methods for transferring a juvenile case to adult courts


Section 4: Arrest

Click Here for the Section 4 Resource Page


Standard 1:  Students will recognize laws of arrest and describe how to apply those laws.

A.      Identify when to arrest with a warrant

   a.  Writing affidavits

B.      Identify when to arrest without a warrant

C.      Define arrest by a private person

D.      Recognize various levels of suspicion and what they allow police officers to do

E.       Define Reasonable suspicion and how it relates to detentions and pat-downs (stop and frisk)

F.       Define probable cause and how it relates to arrests

  1. Reasonable Suspicion
  2.  Probable Cause

G.      Understand and apply the legal precedents established by prominent case laws pertaining to detentions and arrests

H.      Differentiate between a consensual encounter, detention and custodial arrest

Standard 2:  Students will recognize the laws pertaining to search and seizure and how to apply those laws.

A.  Identify when search warrants are needed

B.  Discuss search of premises without a warrant

  1. Standing, Authority and Scope

C.   Identify when a person can be searched

D.  Discuss special circumstances for the search of a vehicle– evidence in crash investigations, inventories pursuant to impound

E.   Define Stop and Frisk

G.  Discuss the purpose and application of the exclusionary rule

H.  Discuss why  probable cause is the standard for arrest (seizure of a person)

I.    Recognize exceptions allowing warrantless searches

  1. Consent
  2. Plain view doctrine
  3. Search incident to arrest
  4. Exigent circumstances
  5. Automobile exception
  6. Hot pursuit
  7. Open fields
  8. Border searches
  9. Search waivers; probation/parole
Section 3:  Students will recognize and discuss agency policies and procedures related to arrest.

A.  Define Infractions, Misdemeanors and Felonies

B.  Discuss officer discretion

  1. May arrest
  2. Shall arrest

C.  Given an example, identify when an arrest or citation (summons) would be most appropriate

D.  Identify department policies regarding arrests for specific violations–Domestic Violence, Driving While Impaired, Violation of Protective Order, Hate Crime, etc.

E.  Discuss how department Core Values and community expectations relate to making arrests

Section 5: Ethics

Click Here for the Section 5 Resource Page


Standard 1:  Students will understand Police policies and ethics

A.         Students will be able to identify that conduct is proscribed by law, policy and ethics.

B.         Students will recite the Law Enforcement Code of Ethics and discuss how officers can demonstrate each component

C.         Police Corruption

D.        Civil Rights

E.         Liability and Reform

Standard 2: Students will define Personal integrity and ethical behavior

A.      Students will differentiate between legal and ethical behaviors.

B.      Students will be able to define ethical issues.

C.      Students will be able to identify different types of ethical misconduct.

Standard 3: Students will explain disciplinary actions and processes.

A.      Students will define types of disciplinary actions.

B.      Students will understand the actions used by Internal Affairs, Inspector General and criminal law provisions.

Section 6: Traffic

Click Here for the Section 6 Resource Page


Standard 1: Students will discuss the reasons for enforcing traffic laws, as well as the procedures enforcing traffic laws.

A.   Discuss the theory and role of traffic enforcement

B.  Identify the different types of Stops and when each should be used

  1. Enforcement
  2. Investigative
  3. High Risk / Felony

C.  Describe vehicle positioning, officer approach, and overall safety on traffic stops

D.  Demonstrate gathering information and completing a citation

E.  Discuss tools of the trade and when each might be used

  1. radar/lidar
  2.  traffic surveys

F.   LIst the most common violations and discuss officer discretion related to issuing citations (summons)

Standard 2:  Students will discuss the procedures for responding to a traffic collision scene and demonstrate how to properly complete a traffic collision investigation.

A.  Identify officer safety concerns when responding to the scene of a traffic collision

B.  Demonstrate gathering information to complete the collision report

C.  Identify involved parties and witness, obtain statements, and list injuries

D.  Recognize and collect/document physical evidence

  1. Tire marks
  2. Vehicles
  3. Event Data Recorders (EDR/CDR) recovery and legal issues

E.  Demonstrate methods for diagramming the collision scene

  1. Triangulation
  2. Coordinate method
  3. Station line
  4. Total station (electronic methods)

F.  Discuss how to investigate Hit and Run collisions, delayed collisions, DWI collisions, and other unusual occurrences

G.  Complete the report to minimally include

  1. Narrative
  2. Area of Impact
  3. Primary Collision Factors / Cause
Standard 3:  Students will explain the need for enforcing DWI laws, how to complete a DWI investigation and demonstrate proper SFSTs.

A.  Identify common DWI driving conduct

B.  Recognize physical and objective symptoms of impairment

C.  Discuss and demonstrate the Standardized Field Sobriety Tests (SFSTs)

D.  Discuss how and when to use breath testing devices

E.  Compare and contrast the Administrative Hearing (DMV) and criminal proceeding

  1.  Identify relevant testimony

F.  Identify possible DWI defenses and how to eliminate or mitigate them during the investigation

G.  Discuss the legality of DWI checkpoints

Section 7: Crime Scene Investigation

Click Here for the Section 7 Resource Page


Standard 1: Student will demonstrate basic crime scene processing skills

A.      Securing the crime scene

B.      Recording the scene

C.      Searching the crime scene

D.      Processing the scene

E.       Managing the crime scene

Standard 2: Student will describe proper evidence handling

A.      Differentiate between the types of physical evidence

B.      Explain chain of evidence

C.      Describe how to locate and collect evidence

D.      Describe how evidence is analyzed

Standard 3: Student will describe specialized evidence procedures

A.      Describe the autopsy process

B.      Demonstrate basic fingerprinting

C.      Explain how DNA and serology are used in investigations

   a.       Explain how child abuse and sexual assaults require special attention

D.      Describe homicides investigations

E.       Explain how impression evidence is used

F.       Describe ballistic evidence

G.      Discuss the importance of locating and preserving electronic media evidence


Section 8: Patrol Tactics & Investigative Work

Click Here for the Section 8 Resource Page


Standard 1: Students will identify basic patrol skills, demonstrate proper report writing, and discuss the duties of a patrol officer.

A.  Identify proper report writing methods

   a. Conduct a mock interview

B.  Discuss and identify command structure and rank

C.  Demonstrate proper radio procedure, and use of the phonetic alphabet and codes

D.  Discuss the deployment and distribution of Patrol officers by work schedule and patrol areas

E.  Discuss authority to use force and use of force options

F.  Discuss vehicle pursuits

G. Discuss the purpose of critical Incident training and de-escalation training

Standard 2:  Students will be able to identify and discuss the theories related to police patrols and most common patrol deployment methods.

A.  Identify the functions of Patrol

B.  Discuss the most common patrol theories

C.  Discuss the different Styles of Patrol

D.  Discuss Patrol effectiveness and some of the most well-known related experiments

E.  Explain the evolution of community policing

   a. Broken Windows

F.  Discuss past, present and future technology used in Patrol

a. Drone Technology

Standard 3:  Students will identify how calls for service are prioritized, what patrol officers do in a typical patrol day, and how to identify various types of criminal activity.

A.  Given an example, identify when and how to respond to calls for service

B.  Identify when criminal violations have occurred

   a.       Elements of common crimes

   b.       Proper responses

C.  Define domestic disturbances (violence) and explain how/why they are treated differently

  1. Restraining Orders

D.  Define Civil Disputes and how they relate to the “keeping the peace” role of policing

  1. Landlord/Tenant
  2. Child Custody Orders
  3. Property Disputes

E. Identify and define Vice Crimes and explain why they can be difficult to prosecute

F.  Discuss current issues in policing and ways to address the problems

  1. Homelessness
  2. Mental Illness
Standard 4:  Students will discuss the processes and methods for conducting basic, patrol-level investigations.

A.  Define and identify the involved parties

  1. Victims
  2. Witnesses
  3. Suspects

B.  Identify and discuss the most common methods for locating and identifying suspects

C.  List the various methods for developing information on suspects

D.  Define “modus Operandi” and how it can be used to connect cases and suspects

E.  Discuss the use of informants

F.  Discuss the legal aspect of surveillance and identify common surveillance techniques

G. Discuss the decision process regarding making an arrest

H.  Define the difference between interviews and Interrogation, and explain when each would be appropriate

I.  Define case management and disposition

J. Explain victim rights and services offered

Standard 5: Students will identify and discuss the roles and responsibilities of the police patrol supervisor. 

A.  Discuss the role and responsibility of the Police Patrol Supervisor

C.  Discuss the basic discipline process

D.  Discuss the Rights of Police Officers during the discipline process (Peace Officer Bill of Rights, Lybarger, Unions, Skelly, etc. where applicable)

  1.  Qualified Immunity

E.  Discuss the ethical process for tracking officer productivity

Section 9: Career Planning

Click Here for the Section 9 Resource Page


Standard 1: Student will describe personal qualifications, interests, aptitudes, knowledge, and skills                                                  necessary to succeed in Criminal Justice careers.

A.      Identify educational requirement

B.      Explain the testing and hiring process

C.      Describe job search methods and resources

D.      List things that will keep applicants from being hired in law enforcement jobs

E.       Explain the probationary period

F.       Describe how officers get promoted

Standard 2: Student will identify the array of opportunities within the career of law enforcement

A.      List federal law enforcement opportunities and requirements

B.      Describe common units in police departments

C.      Identify special police departments such as railroad and campus police

Standard 3: Students will explain the role and function of professional organizations, industry associations, and organized labor in a productive society.

A.      Identify law enforcement professional clubs and organizations

B.      Describe union opportunities

C.      Identify law enforcement social clubs and organizations

D.      Describe pre-employment opportunities like internships and groups like Explorers or Cadets

Standard 4: Students will identify past, present, and future trends that affect careers in Criminal Justice.

A.      Explain how social media has impacted law enforcement professionally and personally

B.      Describe efforts to expand the number of women and minorities in the Criminal Justice field

C.      Identify points critics of police make regarding bias and racism

Standard 5: Student will describe how working in law enforcement affects people

A.      Describe the positive aspects and negative aspects of police careers

B.      Explain the causes of stress in law enforcement

C.      Describe healthy ways to relieve career stress

D.      Explain mental health issues in law enforcement such as PTSD, suicide, and addiction issues.