Criminal Justice and Law Enforcement

Associate of Applied Science Degrees

  • Corrections
  • Law Enforcement

Associate of Criminal Justice Degree

The Law Enforcement program provides classroom instruction leading to an associate degree in the fields of corrections or law enforcement. This program provides courses to prepare for entry-level careers in agencies at the local, state, and federal levels, as well as private agencies. Some of the career areas available to graduates are law enforcement, private security and related services, adult and juvenile corrections, probation and parole, law, and others.

Those currently working as career officers in law enforcement can also benefit from the program, which can provide them with a better understanding of their roles in the criminal justice system while helping them prepare for higher level positions within their organizations.

Required Skills and Abilities

Physical Abilities

This program requires that the student be able to—

  • lift, carry and balance up to 125 pounds (250 pounds with assistance)
  • assume a variety of postural positions and be capable of physical maneuvers ranging from crawling, kneeling, squatting, twisting, turning, and bending, to climbing stairs and ladders)
  • withstand varied environmental conditions such as extreme heat, cold, and moisture.

Technology Competencies

In an effort to assist students with adequate preparation for their coursework at DACC, technology competencies have been identified and established. These competencies are in effect for all courses taken in the Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice programs. Students must possess the following minimum competencies. Additional competencies may be required for particular courses/programs:

  • Access course and program material on the Web using Mozilla Firefox and/or MS Internet Explorer
  • Correspond with DACC students and faculty using e-mail and the Web
  • Read/print e-mail and attachments/files from students and faculty
  • Complete, send, and receive assignments using e-mail and attachments/files
  • Use the DACC Library e-books, e-journals, databases, or credible World Wide Web resources for research and completion of course assignments
  • Prepare and conduct presentations in the classroom using presentation equipment as required.
  • Use the appropriate software for a given course (DACC uses as standards Microsoft products, including MS Word, MS Project, MS Excel, and MS PowerPoint)
  • Use CD-ROMs when required as part of course assignments
  • Use an appropriate anti-virus application to insure the files transmitted and received are virus free
  • Use recommended plagiarism review software to insure work is not plagiarized

Private Security Background Checks for Law Enforcement Majors

Every student focusing on the related career fields of fire, law enforcement, Homeland Security, private security, corrections, parole or probation will at some point be subject to a background and criminal history check.

A background check requires that a student complete a multi-part background questionnaire identifying most of the following:

  • All names and aliases used; marriages and divorces
  • Previous home and work addresses, names of employers, teachers, and schools, including dates of work and attendance and or transcripts
  • Medical history including any mental health or drug use
  • Credit history
  • Criminal history to include arrests, traffic and infraction tickets (Juvenile arrest histories may not be shielded from background checks even if the juvenile record has been sealed.)
  • Military service record
  • Driving record, suspensions, tickets and possession of a current driver’s license
  • Citizenship and/or immigration status to include birth certificate and valid social security number
  • And any other background informational requirements unique to each agency
  • Current and past Internet social networking information, profiles, postings, e-mail addresses, and cyber-vetting

NOTE: The following categories will eliminate a person from access to internships, training academies, off-site law enforcement related work-study opportunities, and most criminal justice related jobs:

  • Arrest for domestic violence, DUI/DWI, drug use and possession, felony crimes, and misdemeanor crimes (agency dependent)
  • Mental impairment based on mental illness and/or drug-alcohol abuse
  • False statements on an application or background check
  • Social networking or Internet postings deemed inappropriate or damaging to a candidate’s reputation or reputation of potential hiring entities; also, any postings, images, etc., demonstrating a lack of moral turpitude
  • Violations of laws involving moral turpitude
  • Bad credit
  • Objectionable visible body art, body modifications or piercings (tattoos on the neck may also disqualify if visible while participating/working)
  • Failure to pass any job-related testing process, including, but not limited to, the following: written examination, oral interview board, physical fitness exam, background check, polygraph examination, psychological examination, medical examination

Degrees and Options

Corrections/Law Enforcement with the Corrections Option

The Corrections option emphasizes the correctional aspect of the criminal justice systems and offers a broad understanding of correctional institutions and alternatives. General studies are offered to students seeking employment in confinement facilities, institutional security, and other similar programs. The student also is prepared to work in adult and juvenile correctional agencies at the local, state, and federal levels.

Workers in the corrections field are responsible for overseeing individuals who have been arrested and are awaiting trial or who have been convicted of a crime and sentenced to serve time in a jail, reformatory, or penitentiary. The majority of officers are employed by local, county, state, and federal institutions.

While the primary mission of corrections is protection of the public, many officers are involved in the treatment, education, and reintegration of offenders. These officers may find employment as wardens, jail administrators, program coordinators and counselors, public information officers, correctional trainers, case managers, probation/parole officers, corrections officers, detention officers or other related careers.

NOTE: An articulation agreement exists with the Corrections Department of New Mexico that makes it possible to receive college credit for experience and/or training.

Corrections/Law Enforcement with the Law Enforcement Option

The Law Enforcement option emphasizes the law enforcement aspect of the criminal justice system. This degree offers the law enforcement student a general understanding of the police officer’s multifaceted role in the United States. It also prepares the student with the basic foundations of police work for possible employment opportunities with local, state and federal governments, and private industry.

Most law enforcement officers are employed by the security industry and local, county, and state governments. They have duties that range from providing security to controlling traffic to preventing and investigating crimes. They maintain order, enforce laws and ordinances, issue traffic summonses, investigate accidents, present evidence in court, serve legal documents for the court system, and apprehend, arrest and process prisoners. Career opportunities include positions as private investigators, security officers, loss-prevention officers, police officers, sheriff and deputy officers, criminal investigators, game wardens, private detectives, and bailiffs.

Many law enforcement agencies encourage the applicants to take postsecondary school training in law enforcement-related subjects. Many entry-level applicants for police jobs have completed some formal postsecondary education and a significant number are college graduates. Knowledge of a foreign language is an asset in many federal agencies and urban departments.

Additional information on professional requirements and qualifications may be obtained from the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, at

NOTE: An articulation agreement exists with the Department of Public Safety of New Mexico that makes it possible to receive college credit for experience and/or training.

The Associate Degree in Criminal Justice

The associate of criminal justice introduces students to three facets of the criminal justice system: police, courts, and corrections. Broadly interdisciplinary—embracing the study of law, the humanities, and the natural, behavioral, and social sciences—the curriculum prepares students to transfer into the NMSU bachelor’s degree program in criminal justice, or the bachelor of applied studies, at the junior level.

C J 101G. Introduction to Criminal Justice

3 Credits

Examination of crime and justice within the broader social and cultural context of U.S. society from interdisciplinary social science perspectives. Includes critical analysis of criminal justice processes and the ethical, legal, and political factors affecting the exercise of discretion by criminal justice professionals.

C J 199. Special Topics in Criminal Justice I

1-3 Credits

Specific subjects to be announced in the Schedule of Classes. May be repeated under different topics for a maximum of 6 credits.

C J 205. Criminal Law

3 Credits

Rules, principles, and doctrines of criminal liability in the United States. The historical development, limits, and functions of the substantive criminal law. May be repeated up to 3 credits.

C J 210. The American Law Enforcement System

3 Credits

Historical and philosophical foundations of law and order. An in-depth examination of the various local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies.

C J 221. Fundamentals of Criminal Investigation

3 Credits

Investigation procedures from crime scene searches, collection of evidence, and case preparation. Community Colleges only. (Note: students completing C J 221 may not take C J 321.)

C J 230. Introduction to Corrections

3 Credits

Development of correctional philosophy, theory, and practice. Instructional and non-institutional alternatives available in the corrections process.

C J 250. Courts and the Criminal Justice System

3 Credits

Structures and functions of American courts. Roles of attorneys, judges, and other court personnel; operation of petit and grand juries, trial and appellate courts.

C J 293. Field Experience in Criminal Justice

3-6 Credits

Field experience in a public criminal justice agency or equivalent private sector organization. Supervised internship experience, conferences, and observations. Restricted to majors. Community Colleges only.

Prerequisites: C J 101G, prior arrangement and consent of instructor and a GPA of 2.0 or better in major.

LAWE 201. Introduction to Juvenile Delinquency

3 Credits

An introductory overview of the juvenile justice system of due process, custody, detention and release. Note: course does not meet upper division requirements towards completion of Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice. Restricted to: Community Colleges Only.

LAWE 202. Police Patrol Procedures

3 Credits

A critical review of police procedures and the influences on police behavior; policy development, including the police role; discretion; police community interaction and arrest, search and seizure. Restricted to: Community Colleges only.

LAWE 203. Introduction to Police Supervision

3 Credits

An introductory overview of police supervision and concerns as it applies to law enforcement. (Note: Course does not meet upper division requirements toward completion of Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice.) Restricted to: Community Colleges only.

LAWE 204. Introduction to Homeland Security

3 Credits

A historical perspective of international and domestic terrorist threats and the need to develop cohesive response policies and practices in the interest of National Security. [Course does not meet requirements towards completion of Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice.] Restricted to: Community Colleges only.

Prerequisite(s): C J 101.

LAWE 205. Practical Field Investigations

4 Credits (3+3P)

Incorporates the current methods and techniques for the management of the crime scene, includes documentation, collection and preservation of evidence and case presentations. [Course does not meet requirements towards completion of Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice.] Restricted to Community Colleges campuses only.

Prerequisite(s): C J 101 and C J 221.

LAWE 206. Traffic Enforcement and Crash Investigations

3 Credits

History and development of traffic laws and regulations, including basic elements of traffic violations, detection, apprehension, impaired drivers and guidelines and procedures for effective crash investigations and reporting. Restricted to: Community Colleges only.

LAWE 207. Legal Aspects of Law Enforcement

3 Credits

An evaluation of police authority including responsibilities, civil liability, liability implications, legal obligations, legal restraints, laws of arrest, and search and seizure. Retricted to: Community Colleges only.

LAWE 221. Law Enforcement Internship

3 Credits

Application of knowledge, skills and abilities, in an agency as an intern and integrated member of a law enforcement affiliated agency.

Prerequisite: consent of instructor.

LAWE 233. Practical Approach to Terrorism

3 Credits

Gives responders an overall safety approach in recognizing and responding to incidents involving terrorism. Presents and overview in types of harm, explosive weapons, chemical weapons, biological weapons and radiological weapons. [Course does not meet requirements towards completion of Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice.] Restricted to: Dona Ana campus only. Crosslisted with: FIRE 233

Name: Mark Nunley, Public Services Department Chair

Office Location: DASR 220-I

Phone: (575) 527-7746