Polk State College is launching a concentration in Crime Scene Investigations within its Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice degree program. Registration is already taking place for classes that will start on August 14 for the Fall 2023 Semester.
Students with Associate in Arts or Associate in Science degrees are eligible to enroll in the baccalaureate program and this new concentration. All Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice students complete electives based on their interests, but those enrolled in the Crime Science Investigations concentration will take the following specialized courses in this order:
- Crime Scene Investigations
- Advanced Crime Scene Investigations
- Criminal Evidence and Procedures
- Seminar in Crime Scene Investigations
The curriculum is developed and taught by crime scene practitioners, and the program can be completed completely online.
While the bachelor’s degree program provides a broad overview of the interdisciplinary field of criminal justice from criminology, sociology, and psychology, to law, public policy, and causes and prevention of criminal behavior, this is the first time the program is delving into a specific concentration.
“Nationwide, there is a shortage of employees wanting or willing to work in the criminal justice field,” explained Sgt. Chris Shea, Director of the Polk State Criminal Justice Program. “Our local criminal justice agencies have voiced to us that our students should know criminal investigations, including case law, the legal ramifications for evidence collections, and report writing.”
The program has an advisory board comprised of chiefs and administrators from partnering agencies including the Polk County and Hardee County sheriff’s offices, the Department of Corrections, as well as the police departments in Winter Haven, Lakeland, Auburndale, and Haines City.
“They were all about it because no matter what field of the criminal justice system our students go into, investigations are critical. Even if they don’t end up in a job as an investigator, it is important for deputies, court personnel, lawyers – anyone in the system – to understand crime scenes and evidence collection,” Shea added.
A survey was also conducted with Criminal Justice and Associate in Arts students to gauge interest in a variety of concentration options.
“Crime Scene Investigations was top scoring. It’s a no-brainer,” Shea said. “It’s a hot topic because of TV dramas like CSI, but it really is a need for our criminal justice system.”