Criminal Investigative Theory Syllabus 
Summer 1 2008
Dr. Tod W. Burke


CRJU 320 (Section 01) Index Number: 1301  Tuesday/Thursday 6:00-9:00 PM (Waldron College Hall 226)

Office: 307 Adams St. 6B
Work Phone: 831-6657
Fax : 831-6075 E-mail:

Office Hours: I will not be holding official office hours during the summer months, however, I am usually in my office one hour prior to class if you wish to stop by and chat.  You can also reach me via e-mail at or call my office phone number 540-831-6657.



This course is designed to give the student practical and theoretical knowledge of criminal investigation. Much of the material and classroom discussion will focus on the initial responding officer at the crime scene, as well as follow-up investigations by detectives and crime lab personnel. The basic format of instruction is lecture, although practical exercises by the students may be required. Class participation plays a vital role in the success of this course. The student is expected to attend each class. If, by some chance, a student misses a class, he/she is responsible for the material covered during that lecture/lab.


The student will be graded based upon three lecture/discussion exams.  Each exam will be valued up to 100 points each and will be hypothetical/essay/short answers and may cover any material covered in lecture, classroom discussion, guest speakers, videos, etc.

Laboratory exercises will be valued up to 10 points each.  The specific requirements for each lab (see below activities) will be noted in class (assignments may require group work and will require out-of-class meetings).  Make-up for laboratory exercises will not be granted, so please do not bother to ask.  You must attend laboratory exercise to receive laboratory credit points!  Some of the grades for laboratory exercises may be determined by your group (classmate) supervisor, when applicable.  The professor has final determination of a student's laboratory points!

Following each exam, classroom discussion/lab will follow as per the lesson plan.


There will not be a required textbook for this class.  I know this delights you.


The student is expected to attend each class. If an individual is borderline between grades, class participation will be considered in making the final grade decision. Additionally, students are expected to attend class "on time." Tardiness will NOT be tolerated (the student may be denied admission into the class if tardy and will be counted absent). 

Any student who misses class will be deducted 30 points for each class missed (Two tardies = one absence).  Since we only meet 10 times the entire summer session, there will be no excused absences, so do not even bother to ask (treat this as part of your participation grade).  Any student not paying attention such as, falling asleep in class (if that is even possible in this course), working on another assignment, failing to pay attention during news briefings, videos, etc., playing with their cell phone, being ill-prepared for classroom discussion, etc., may be counted absent for that day. 


Other important information:  If you bring a cell phone to class, please turn off the ringer (you may wish to put the phone on vibrate).  If you receive a call during class, do NOT respond to the message unless it is an emergency that the entire class should be made aware of (example - a campus emergency). Laptops and other computer/recording devices are prohibited during class use (unless it is being used during a group presentation).  This will minimize unnecessary distractions that often accompany the use of these electronic devices. You will need to take notes the old fashion way - via handwriting - sorry!


The following is a tentative outline of the course. This may be subject to change.

Elements of a Crime
Methods of Investigation
Interview and Interrogation
Confessions and Admissions
Crime Scene Search
Photographing the Scene
Crime Scene Sketch
Evidence Collection
Missing Persons
Arson Investigation
Sex Offenses
Theft Investigation
Burglary Investigation
Robbery Investigation

VII. LABORATORY/CLASS EXERCISES/ETC. (we may or may not be able to conduct each lab/exercise during the summer).


Radford University is committed to the highest standards of academic honesty. Acts of academic dishonesty include plagiarism, cheating, bribery, academic fraud, sabotage of research materials, the sale of academic papers, the purchase of academic papers, and the falsification of records. An individual who engages in these or related activities or who knowingly aids another who engages them, is acting in an academically dishonest manner and will be subject to disciplinary action in accordance with the bylaws and procedures of Radford University (See Student Handbook).

Each member of the academic community is expected to give full, fair, and formal credit to any and all sources that have contributed to the formulation of ideas, methods, interpretations, and findings. The absence of such formal credit is an affirmation that the work is fully the writer’s. The term "sources" includes, but is not limited to, published or unpublished materials, lectures, lecture notes, computer programs, mathematical and other symbolic formulations, course papers, examinations, theses, dissertations, and comments offered in class or informal discussions. The representation that such work of another is the writer’s represents plagiarism.

Care must be taken to document the source of any ideas or arguments. If the actual word of a source is used, it must appear within quotation marks. In cases that are unclear, the writer must take due care to avoid plagiarism.

The source should be cited whenever:

  1. A text is quoted verbatim
  2. Data gathered by another are presented in diagrams or tables/charts
  3. The results of a study conducted by another are used
  4. The work or intellectual effort of another is paraphrased by the writer.

Since the intent to deceive is not a necessary element (strict liability), careful note taking and record keeping is essential in order to avoid plagiarism. In other words, it is like being a little bit pregnant (you either are or you are not). One cannot have "accidental/unintentional" plagiarism!

Students should consult members of the faculty for clarification of the definition and substance of this policy on plagiarism as it applies to their particular discipline.

(Source: City University of New York – Proposal on Plagiarism).


Students seeking accommodations are required to provide documentation from an appropriate health care provider or professional. The documentation must outline the functional limitations that substantially limit a major life activity. Providers are also asked to provide recommendations for reasonable accommodations based upon the disability. However, Radford University's disability services professionals ultimately decide on what accommodations are appropriate and reasonable.

Having a diagnosis is not the same as having a disability!

ADA Statement

If you are seeking classroom accommodations under the Americans with Disabilities Act, you are required to register with the Disability Resource Office (DRO). The DRO is located in Tyler Hall, Room 64; telephone number 831-6350; email address To receive academic accommodations for this class, please obtain the proper DRO forms and meet with me no later than the second week of class during the regular semester session (or the second day of the class during the summer session).

Learning Resource Center

The Learning Assistance and Resource Center (LARC), located in 126 Walker Hall, is open to all students Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m.  Certified, trained tutors provide help with basic study skills, writing, and content-specific material.  An appointment is necessary and can be made by calling 831-7704, emailing, or IMingrularcappt”.