Apr 13, 2024  
College Catalog 2023-2024 
College Catalog 2023-2024 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

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LAWE 1280 - The Police Function

Credit Hours: 3.00

Prerequisites: None

An overview of the police role in society and the way in which the police are organized to discharge that function in the United States. The organization of municipal policing is studied at both operational and administrative levels. This includes the patrol, investigative, specialized, and support functions as well as an examination of the selection and training requirements for police.

Billable Contact Hours: 3

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Outcome 1: Upon completion of this course, students will be able to define and identify the makeup of law enforcement agencies in America.

Objectives: The student will:

  1. Identify and define important historical facts shaping policing to the present. Students will look closely at the development of law enforcement in the United States and will examine the basis for current trends in departments.
  2. Identify the types of police agencies that exist in the United States. Students will distinguish between federal, state, and local law enforcement, and determine general employment requirements.
  3. Define the police role. Students will discuss the changing role of the police over time and assess where the role of the police is headed.
  4. Identify and define the functions of the patrol force. Students will participate in both foot patrol and vehicle patrol assignments and discuss the differences between the two. Students will identify where each style would most effectively be used.
  5. Identify and define the need for order maintenance. Students will identify what the public and what the police expect in maintaining order. Students will identify the pros and cons of the public dictating the police in problem solving.
  6. Identify and define the role of crime prevention. Students will explore the differing implementation processes of crime prevention and the task as envisioned by Sir Robert Peele.
  7. Identify and define the role of community policing in modern policing. Students will examine in depth the philosophy behind community involvement and will research and examine examples implemented across the United States.

Outcome 2: Upon completion of this course, students will be able to define and identify the problems associated with police work.

Objectives: The student will:

  1. Define discretion and identify its role in police work. Students will discuss the ethics of police discretion and the potential for misuse and discriminatory practices. Students will exercise discretion in common police scenarios.
  2. Define and identify the relationship of police officers to citizens. Students will clarify each role and determine where the lines cross between accountability and citizen over involvement.
  3. Define and identify forms of police corruption. Students will examine the causes of corruption and assess the ethics of police officers in identifying and reporting corruption.
  4. Define and identify how police become accountable to the public. Students will examine civilian oversight and discuss the role of the court and the role of internal controls including Internal Affairs to make police officers responsible.
  5. Identify and define selection and qualifications for police work. Students will compare Michigan with other states and assess how Michigan com pares to the rest of the country in minimum police requirements.
  6. Define the police bureaucracy. Students will study the process of information flow in a department and will look at the division and segmentation of departments by interviewing officers.
  7. Define stress and identify coping measures. Students will examine what causes stress in police work and will assess what should be done and who should be responsible for implementing programs geared at stress reduction.
  8. Define changes in policing roles today. Students will project what the task of the police officer will be in the future and will assess changes in departments to accommodate these changes.
  9. Define unions and the collective bargaining process. Students will review the statute that permits collective bargaining in Michigan. In addition, students will discuss the propriety of police strikes, collective bargaining, and union and management rights in a labor contract.

  • Communication: The graduate can communicate effectively for the intended purpose and audience.
  • Critical Thinking: The graduate can make informed decisions after analyzing information or evidence related to the issue.
  • Global Literacy: The graduate can analyze human behavior or experiences through cultural, social, political, or economic perspectives.
  • Information Literacy: The graduate can responsibly use information gathered from a variety of formats in order to complete a task.
  • Quantitative Reasoning: The graduate can apply quantitative methods or evidence to solve problems or make judgments.
  • Scientific Literacy: The graduate can produce or interpret scientific information presented in a variety of formats.
CDO marked YES apply to this course:
Communication: YES
Critical Thinking: YES
Global Literacy: YES
Information Literacy: YES
Quantitative Reasoning: YES
Scientific Literacy: YES


  1. Make up of a department
    1. Cost
    2. Manpower
    3. Patrol
    4. Investigation
  2. Community Policing
    1. Problem Oriented Policing
    2. Community Policing
    3. Broken windows theory
  3. Deviance
    1. Ethics
    2. Internal Affairs
    3. Discipline
  4. Complaints
    1. Role of civilians
    2. Role of police

Primary Faculty
Bowlin, Samantha
Secondary Faculty

Associate Dean
Lopez, Michael
Mirijanian, Narine

Primary Syllabus - Macomb Community College, 14500 E 12 Mile Road, Warren, MI 48088

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