Course Outline

Accolades

"The content is outstanding in this course. There is a lot of opportunity for the student to learn new information and take in new content. This is a course that especially people new to the career field should be taking. It re-enforces the idea we shouldn't have an "us vs them" mentality and law enforcement is there to serve the community." —past course participant

Online Course Outline

Weekly Agenda

This six-week class consists of six major themes with one online discussion board on selected topics required each week. The discussion board within each weekly module will include a lecture/discussion, community engagement activity, links to short articles, videos, podcasts, songs, and/or other material that will serve as the bases of our weekly class discussions.

Week One: Introduction to Human Rights Policing

Sections:

  • Class Welcome and Participant Introductions
  • Class Summary
  • The Criminological Imagination
  • Determinism versus Agency
  • Verstehen: Understanding the Meaning of Action from the Actor's Point of View
  • Points of Departure
  • Discussion Board Question

Brief Summary:

We begin the class with instructor and participant introductions, followed by an overview of class content, assignments, and expectations for students. Class participants are introduced to the criminological imagination, as well as other important concepts, e.g., human agency, that will be used throughout the class. The week continues with a discussion of the concept of verstehen and its relationship to policing communities. We end with a discussion board question that brings together the lessons learned in this first week and prepare students for week two. The Discussion Board will focus on how police officers can use verstehen in their everyday police work.

Week Two: Understanding Human Rights and the History of Policing

Sections:

  • Defining Human Rights
  • History of Human Rights
  • Examples of Human Rights
  • History of Policing
  • Relevance of Human Rights to Policing Communities

Brief Summary:

This week focuses on defining and understanding the concept of human rights and tracing its history, as well as providing specific examples of human rights. We will then define policing and review its history in the United States. We end by discussing the relevance of human rights to policing and discuss its practical application to policing a community. 

Week Three: An Examination of the U.S. Criminal Justice System

Sections:

  • 13th Amendement

Brief Summary:

This week takes an in depth look at the criminal justice system in the United States, including an analysis of the documentary 13th Amendment.

Week Four: Engaging with the Community: Tales from the Field

Sections:

  • Engaging with members of the community on human rights

Brief Summary:

This week requires class participants to engage with one or more members of the community outside of the law enforcement field (university students or professors, black lives matter activists, religious groups, grassroots organizers, high school students, YWCA, and/or other community organizations) to discuss human rights. The purpose of this assignment is to understand human rights from the points of view of community members. Details will be discussed in (online) class.

Week Five: Applying Human Rights Policing to Real Life Policing Situations

Sections:

  • Applying Human Rights Policing: Stories from other U.S. Departments
  • Applying Human Rights Policing: Community Interactions and Calls for Service
  • Applying Human Rights Policing: Real Life Local Policing Situations in Your Department

Brief Summary:

Week Five applies our understanding of human rights policing to job

Week Five applies our understanding of human rights policing to job performance, specifically to the unique culture and politics that exist in local police departments. First, we look applying human rights policing to everyday policing interactions with the community from stories written by police from other U.S. police departments. Next, we discuss how we can apply human rights policing to specific cases of police use of force taken from first-hand accounts of police officers. We also apply how human rights policing might inform how we handle responses to calls of service written by members of this class.

Week Six: Applying Human Rights Policing While on the Job

Sections: 

Police officer examples of Human Rights Policing

Brief Summary:

The discussion board for this week focuses on participants’ personal stories of applying course concepts ‘on the job’ while taking the class.  

Final Assignment

Course participants fulfill the requirements of the Human Rights Policing Certificate of Completion by completing a one-page paper explaining real life examples of applying human rights policing to their jobs while taking this class.