LAWE2230 Legal Issues for Law Enforcement

The course will familiarize students with the principles of criminal procedures, the rules established by the US Supreme Court relating to stop, frisk, arrest, search interrogation and identification, and the legal process applicable to law enforcement. Students will study the legal concepts involved in the application of the 4th, 5th, and 6th Amendments to policing as well as Minnesota State Constitution and procedural requirements.




Admission into the Law Enforcement Program

Course Requirements and Evaluation

Refer to Course Syllabus for detailed information regarding the requirements and evaluation standards for this course. The Course Syllabus will be distributed the first week of the course.

Learning Outcomes

The following outcomes will be addressed in the course:
Explain key terms and the basic rules governing searches, seizures and interrogations
Explain the protections and operations of the US and MN constitution
Explain the effect of the 14th Amendment
Define the warrant requirements
Explain the protections available under the 4th Amendment
Define legal elements of a vehicle and/or pedestrian stop
Explain when and where an arrest may be made without a warrant
Explain the proper execution of different types of arrest warrants
Explain the use and scope of searches incident to arrest
Describe the scope and authority required to search a vehicle on probable cause
Describe the Exclusionary rule and it's principle exceptions
Explain the rights provided under the 5th Amendment pursuant to Miranda
Describe the rules related to Show Ups and Line Ups, including right to counsel
Describe the requirements for obtaining a search warrant
Explain key terms and rules governing search, seizure, and interrogation
Describe the application of the defenses of capacity, self-defense, and entrapment
Describe the features of liability under state law and civil rights statutes

Minnesota POST Board Learning Objectives:
1.1.1 Describe how perception, sympathy, empathy, compassion and respect affect peace officer communication.
1.1.4 Describe and demonstrate active listening skills including paraphrasing, reflecting meaning, and summarizing understanding to obtain and clarify information.
1.1.5 Demonstrate reading comprehension skills necessary in law enforcement including: the ability to differentiate between facts, opinions and propaganda, understanding sequencing of events, and recognizing cause and effect.
1.1.6 Compose documents that demonstrate competent writing skills, including: writing from the first person viewpoint, differentiating between facts, inferences and opinions, correctly structuring sentences and paragraphs, and using correct grammar, spelling, punctuation and capitalization.
1.2.1 Discuss the inter-relationship between core beliefs, integrity and ethical reasoning.
1.2.2 Identify ethical issues in a variety of law enforcement related situations and apply ethical reasoning to decision making processes.
1.2.3 Evaluate and apply strategies for responding to unethical or illegal actions that may arise within law enforcement and public safety.
1.2.4 Model behaviors that demonstrate commitment to ethical and professional behavior.
1.3.1 Define and describe models of the conscious processes of critical thinking, logical reasoning and problem solving.
1.3.3 Applying reason and evidence to formulate logical inferences and draw logical conclusions.
1.3.4 Analyze and evaluate ideas, proposals, and solutions to problems using basic forms of logic and techniques designed to encourage sound reasoning.
1.4.1 Describe decision-making processes and models.
1.6.5 Discuss how family dynamics and communication methods, both verbal and non-verbal, vary between cultures and how recognition of these variances can benefit officers and communities.
1.7.3 Identify the value of cooperation and collaboration in solving problems.
2.1.1 Discuss the historic need for rules to control human conduct, enforce societal directives and empower authoritative enforcement of those rules.
2.1.2 Incorporate an understanding of the history of criminal justice and the contemporary system of criminal justice in the U.S. into a perspective about current peace officer duties, responsibilities, and actions.
2.1.3 Describe the history behind the ratification of the U.S. Constitution.
2.1.4 Explain the need for a balance between public safety and personal rights in a free society.
2.1.5 Identify and discuss the significance of historic and contemporary events, customs, and social mores that have influenced the current system of justice in the U.S.
2.1.6 Describe the history and impact of including women and diverse community representation in law enforcement.
2.1.7 Explain the roles of law enforcement, the courts and corrections.
2.1.8 Explain the functions and jurisdictions of law enforcement agencies including federal, state, county, municipal, tribal, and international.
2.1.9 Explain the broad functions of the correctional system including imprisonment, parole and probation.
2.1.10 Identify the meaning of criminal justice system terms, e.g.: custody, arraignment, circumstantial evidence, double jeopardy, entrapment, exigent circumstances, conviction, bodily harm, substantial bodily harm, great bodily harm, assault, probation, qualified domestic violence related offense (Minn. Stat. 609.02), forfeiture, "good faith" exception, exclusionary rule, indictment, inevitable discovery, probable cause, Miranda warning, reasonable suspicion, warrant, probation, and parole.
2.1.11 Describe the function and responsibility of each of the key participants involved in a typical courtroom hearing or trial including judges, jury members, prosecuting and defense attorneys and witnesses.
2.2.1 Describe the sources of laws in the U.S. including federal law, state law, case law, and administrative regulatory law and the process by which laws, statutes and ordinances are enacted.
2.2.2 Explain provisions of the Constitution and Bill of Rights that impact or restrict law enforcement including the First, Second, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Eight and Fourteenth Amendments.
2.2.3 Explain how the Separation of Powers Doctrine works.
2.2.4 Distinguish between criminal law and criminal procedure and explain the difference between substantive and procedural law.
2.2.5 Summarize the forms of individual protection related to search and seizure granted by the US Constitution.
2.2.6 Explain the meaning of the good faith doctrine, the fruit of the poisonous tree doctrine and the inevitable discovery doctrine as they pertain to Fourth Amendment rights.
2.2.7 State the requirements of the Fourth Amendment on the law of arrest.
2.2.8 Explain how constitutional rights in the Fifth, Sixth, and Fourteenth Amendments affect police interrogations.
2.2.9 Summarize the rights of individuals being interrogated under the Fifth and Sixth Amendments and the importance of adhering to procedures that protect those rights including: the prohibition against forced or coerced self-incrimination, the Sixth Amendment right to counsel and correlating Minnesota Statute (Minn. Stat. 481.10).
2.2.10 Evaluate mock crime situations and determine if evidence is admissible under the Fourth Amendment.
2.2.11 Explain types of evidence and the differences between them, i.e., direct and circumstantial evidence.
2.2.12 Describe the exclusionary rule and risks associated with contaminated evidence and loss of chain of custody of evidence.
2.2.13 Describe the following suspect identification methods: line-up, photo line-up, and field identification.
2.2.14 Describe proceedings before a trial including the roles of the law enforcement, the defense attorney and prosecutors.
2.2.15 Summarize the rights and processes related to a fair and speedy trial and the right to a jury trial.
2.2.16 Explain the general provisions for sentencing in the Minnesota Criminal Code and the Minnesota Sentencing Guidelines.
2.2.17 Describe crime classifications misdemeanor through felony.
2.2.18 Discuss enhancements that may be applied to repeat offenders, patterned offenders, and career offenders.
2.2.19 Explain the following terms: concurrent and consecutive sentences, imposition and execution of sentence, determinate and indeterminate sentencing.
2.2.20 List the five constitutional amendments involving equality and rights.
2.2.21 Explain the impact of the Fourteenth Amendment as it relates to due process and equal protection under the law including: the difference between the Fifth and Fourteenth amendments in terms of due process the differences between substantive and procedural due process, and how Fourteenth Amendment rights constrain law enforcement authority in interrogations.
2.2.22 Discuss limits placed on interrogation procedures in order to ensure protection of rights for U.S. citizens and non-citizens.
2.2.23 Identify the criminal and civil consequences an officer may face by violating a citizen’s constitutional right.
2.2.24 Compare and contrast characteristics of the civil and criminal justice systems.
2.3.1 Define the following terms: search warrant, arrest warrant, subpoena, order for protection (OFP), ex-parte order for protection, qualified domestic violence-related order (QDVRO), Harassment Restraining Order (HRO), no-contact orders, night-capped warrant, no-knock warrant, and curtilage.
2.3.2 Explain and demonstrate search warrant preparation including establishing a factual basis for probable cause and identifying items to be searched for and seized.
2.3.3 Identify the legal requirements governing preparation and execution of the search warrant of a suspect's home or dwelling, vehicle, or person.
2.3.4 Explain the scope and limitation of a lawful warrant-less seizure during a consent search of persons.
2.3.5 Explain the scope and limitation of a lawful warrantless search of a premise and warrantless search of a vehicle.
2.3.6 Explain the scope and limitation of a lawful warrant-less search during a search based on exigent circumstances.
2.3.7 Explain the scope of a lawful warrant-less search during a plain view search.
2.3.8 Discuss how telephonic search warrants and search warrant templates can speed up the search warrant application process.
2.3.9. Explaining each of the following types of orders: Domestic Violence Protective Orders, Order of No Contact, and Orders to Pick Up Children.
2.4.1 Explain what constitutes an arrest and the differences between a contact, a detention and an arrest.
2.4.2 State the requirements of the Fourth Amendment on the law of arrest.
2.4.3 Discuss protocols and terms associated with arrest including "reasonable suspicion" and "probable cause".
2.4.4 Describe the stop and frisk standard as found in "Terry vs. Ohio" and subsequent cases.
2.4.5 Explain the legal requirements of, the exceptions to, and the need for an arrest warrant and how one is obtained.
2.4.6 Describe when and how a citizen can make an arrest.
2.4.7 Explain the requirements for private citizens to assist law enforcement officials in preventing escape or effecting arrest.
2.6.1 Explain the Supreme Court decision Miranda vs. Arizona and the four components of the Miranda warning.
2.6.2 Explain a criminal defendant's Sixth Amendment right to an attorney in all criminal prosecutions including interviews and interrogations.
2.6.3 Describe legal interviewing and interrogation techniques peace officers may use and the difference between a voluntary and a coerced statement.
2.6.4 Explain the difference between custodial and noncustodial interview or interrogation.
2.6.5 Describe considerations for videotaping and recording interviews and interrogations and explain when interrogations must be recorded (State v. Scales, 518 N.W.2d 587 (Minn.1994).
2.6.6 Explain when admissions and confessions are legally admissible in court.
2.6.7 Explain the purpose of an interrogation and how results of interrogation can be used in trials.
2.6.8 Explain the conditions under which confessions may or may not be used in court.
2.8.1 Explain Minnesota statutes and relevant case law related to the application of force by peace officers.
2.8.2 Explain the following terms: objectively reasonable, totality of circumstances, situational factors, pre-assaultive indicators, and, escalation and de-escalation as related to peace officer use of force.
2.8.3 Discuss the term reasonable as it related to use of force.
2.8.4 State how department policies regarding use of force including deadly force may and may not vary.
2.8.5 Given scenarios, recognize when force is or is not authorized and give and defend reasonable choices for the application of various types of force depending on the circumstances of the scenario.
2.8.6 Give Supreme Court case examples authorizing the use of deadly force.
2.8.7 Analyze a variety of situations where force may or may not be authorized and demonstrate an understanding of the concept of reasonable use of force.
2.8.8 Explain the Minnesota Statute that requires officers be trained in the use of those weapons and equipment the officer is issued or authorized to carry (Minn. Stat. 626.8452).
2.8.9 Explain when force may be used to make an arrest.
2.8.10 Discuss liabilities associated with the application of force by peace officers.
2.9.1 Discuss peace officer rights, obligations and liabilities under state and federal law including requirements placed on law enforcement agencies to defend and indemnify peace officers for good faith action in the course and scope of employment.
2.9.2 Explain the role of internal affairs.
2.13.1 Define the term predatory offender and describe Minnesota’s predatory offender registration system including risk levels that may be assigned to offenders.
2.13.2 Describe when law enforcement agencies are required to provide community notifications regarding predatory offenders and who to contact for assistance with community notifications.
2.13.3 Explain roles peace officers may take in helping predatory offenders understand and complete the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension’s predatory offender registration form and in conducting compliance checks on registered predatory offenders.
2.14.2 Discuss the extent, causes and impact of crimes of violence including physical and sexual abuse, physical violence, harassment and stalking, and neglect. (Minn. Stat. 626.8451., Subd. 1a.)
2.23.1. Identify and discuss crimes commonly described as cybercrime or internet crime.
3.2.6 Explain and participate in evidence-based procedures for identifying suspects, i.e., lineup, photo lineup, and field identification, including blind/blinded administration of the lineup, instructions to the eye witness that the perpetrator may or may not be present, use of non-suspect "fillers" that match the eyewitness’s description of the perpetrator and do not make the suspect noticeably stand out and asking a witness to state his or her level of certainty, in his or her own words, as soon as an identification is made.
3.3.1 Describe the relationship between good report writing and testimony.
3.13.1. Discuss officer safety issues relevant to serving warrants and special procedures to follow when serving potentially high risk warrants.
3.14.4 Explain law enforcement procedures for response to child and vulnerable adult abuse and neglect situations including: identifying behaviors, signs or symptoms indicative of physical, sexual, and psychological abuse, maltreatment and neglect, completing mandatory reporting requirements, contacting appropriate social service agencies, explaining Munchausen by proxy and shaken baby syndromes, and explaining what sudden infant death syndrome is and how it is not a crime.
3.14.5 Identify mandatory reporters of suspected abuse and discuss where to report, what must be reported, the confidentiality of reports, and the legal ramifications for not reporting.
3.14.6 Discuss the collaborative child abuse team approach in investigating child abuse.
3.14.7 Discuss special interview consideration when dealing with children including the terms suggestibility and child centered interviewing.
3.14.8 Explain child welfare holds that allow officers to remove children from at-risk situations.
3.14.11 Explain officer duties in death notification/body identification situations.
3.14.12 Discuss investigation and evidence collection techniques specifically related to homicide, suicide, accidental and natural death scenes.
3.14.13 Discuss the role of peace officers in a variety of disaster and large scale emergencies including: the importance of initial on-scene assessment for immediate action and resources needed and for on- going threats and safety concerns, i.e., gas leaks, downed power lines, looters, fires, etc., the importance of interagency communications and cooperative interaction between law enforcement agencies, utility companies, and other resources, and large scale traffic and crowd management.
3.14.14 Given a scenario, explain or demonstrate an initial scene assessment.
3.14.15 Summarize the elements of the Incident Command System (ICS) including: the overall objectives and primary functions of ICS, the typical agencies that are involved in the ICS, the roles of emergency/first responder in preparedness and response systems during and after disaster situations, the typical hierarchical chain of command structure, and the role of the FBI if the disaster is related to foreign or domestic terrorism.
3.14.16 Summarize characteristics of systems involved in preparing for and managing large scale disasters including: the elements of the national preparedness system and the national response plan, and the purposes, key concepts and principles of the National Incident Management System (NIMS).
3.14.18 Discuss risks associated with domestic violence situations and safe approach techniques including: why it is best not to respond alone, the importance of gathering as much information as possible prior to response, the importance of initial scene assessment, and why it is important not to reveal the name of the person who requested police response.
3.14.19 Explain when an arrest is warranted, when an arrest is mandatory and the time period in which an arrest can be made in domestic violence related situations.
3.14.48 Explain or demonstrate law enforcement procedures for responding to situations and crime scenes involving juveniles as victims and/or offenders including: enforcing status offense laws, apply laws applicable to interviewing a juvenile, explaining the 72 hour hold rule governing shelter placements, the 36 hour hold rule governing detention hold, parent or guardian notification requirements regarding placements and detentions, and custody and liability issues, applying appropriate data practices rules governing incidents involving juveniles including who may request and receive juvenile data, and explaining to whom a juvenile may be released.
3.14.58 Manage a sexual assault situation including: identifying the victim and if the victim is a child, vulnerable adult or adult, and adjusting communication and procedures appropriately, establishing rapport with victims i.e., making victims feel safe, letting them know the assault was not their fault, informing victims of the importance of their cooperation in gathering forensic evidence and pressing charges while ensuring victims understand that the choice is up to them, advising victims of their rights and providing them with a victims rights card, assisting immediate medical needs of victims, communicating with the medical staff treating the victim regarding the need for a forensic evaluation/use of a sexual assault kit to collect evidence, and identifying, protecting, collecting and preserving evidence including photographs, clothing, seminal fluid, saliva, hairs, blood, bedding, fibers, etc.
3.14.59 Define the terms white collar crime and identity theft and describe the importance of evidence protection in investigation of financial fraud, white collar crime and identify theft.

Text and References

A list of textbooks required for this course is available at the bookstore.

Course Scheduling

The scheduled hours of instruction include sixteen hours for each lecture credit, thirty two hours for each lab credit and forty hours for each credit of supervised occupational experience (SOE). Lecture credit may include formal or impromptu lectures, demonstrations or discussions with the entire class or with small groups or individuals. Refer to the Credit Details section of this course outline for the credit breakdown.

Accommodations Statement

Disability Services assists students with disabilities who need accommodations to access programs, services and college activities.  If this applies to you, please contact the DS Office on your campus to initiate the accommodations process. 
Brooklyn Park Campus - 763-488-2477
Eden Prairie Campus – 952-995-1544


Brooklyn Park Campus:  952-995-1300

Credit Details