Skagit Valley College

Catalog Course Search Details

 Course Title:   Investigation Principles


 Department:    CJ

 Course #:    215

 Credits:    5

 Variable:     No

 IUs:    5

 CIP:    430103

 EPC:    832

 REV:    2021

 Course Description  

Covers the accepted techniques and methods of crime scene preservation, investigation, documentation, and the locating and collection of physical evidence including the packaging and submission of relevant evidence to the forensic laboratory. Also covers the principles behind chain of custody; Locard�s exchange principle; methods and techniques of crime scene processing; presumptive and conclusive tests, modern forensic capabilities; compilation of physical and circumstantial evidence for court. Explores photography, drug analysis, DNS profiling, blood-splatter interpretation, shoeprints, firearms tool marks and crime scene reconstruction.


Prerequisite: None.

Additional Course Details

Contact Hours (based on 11 week quarter)

Lecture: 55

Lab: 0

Other: 0

Systems: 0

Clinical: 0

Intent: Distribution Requirement(s) Status:  

Vocational Preparatory Elective  

Equivalencies At Other Institutions

Other Institution Equivalencies Table
Institution Course # Remarks

Learning Outcomes

After completing this course, the student will be able to:

  1. Demonstrate a working understanding of the history of criminal investigation.
  2. Identify what is evidence, definition, types of hearsay as exceptions to the hearsay rule.
  3. Prepare crime scene sketch, to scale, with symbols.
  4. Make plaster casts of footprints and/or tire tracks with full identification.
  5. Identify the investigator�s necessary steps in gathering information through observation, investigation, interviewing, and interrogation.
  6. Identify the basic steps in identification of criminal suspects through the use of fingerprints and other laboratory processes which assist in the identification of criminal suspects.
  7. List the objectives of a criminal investigation and contrast a grid search with a zone search of crime scene; recognize through �visual observation� and draw a subject as an artist.
  8. Perform an identifiable freehand sketch of a person based upon information gained from another�s verbal description; identify and draw each of the facial features correctly.
  9. Conduct a comprehensive interview adequately sufficient to compose an identifiable sketch of an individual.
  10. Demonstrate and understand the value of court testimony with respect to composite drawing.
  11. Understand the value and correct application of the police composite sketch within the investigative framework required; demonstrate the knowledge needed to properly equip a Police Artist�s kit; understand and maintain the various supplies and records required by a police artist.

General Education Learning Values & Outcomes

Revised August 2008 and affects outlines for 2008 year 1 and later.

Course Contents

  1. History and structure of criminal investigation and the legal significance of evidence.
  2. The crime scene search and search warrants and report writing. Technical aspects of photography and fingerprints in criminal investigations.
  3. Recording the crime scene and basic investigative leads.
  4. Collection and preservation of physical evidence and application of evidence gathering techniques.
  5. Elements of crimes, statutory requirements to prove the crime and practice includes a mock scene.
  6. Background and principles of composite art in Criminal Justice. Recognition of the artist�s materials, resources and equipment.
  7. Describing and sketching the human face and principles of shadows and shading. Sketching through photo observation and the composite interview process.
  8. Combining the interview with �freehand� drawing and differentiating between the male, female and child when drawing.
  9. Racial features and characteristics and record keeping, reporting, and testifying. Principles and trends in forensic science.