CJSA 1308
Criminalistics I
Western Texas College

  1. Basic Course Information
    1. Introduction to the field of criminalistics. Topics include the application of scientific and technical methods in the investigation of crime including location, identification, and handling of evidence for scientific analysis
    2. Any required prerequisites:  Need a C or higher in CJIR 1301 or be enrolled in CJRI 1301 simultaneously.
    3. Required grade for enrolling in the next course in this sequence: Need a C or higher in CJSA 1308 in order to take CJSA 2323
  2. Student Learning Outcomes:
    1. Describe the care required in identifying, collecting, and preserving evidence for scientific examination.
    2. Explain the significance of field and laboratory findings.
  3. Online Testing Requirements
    1. The midterm and final exam must be proctored by an approved testing organization. (Ask your instructor for more details.)
    2. Students are not allowed to use their book or notes of any kind while taking their proctored tests and exams.
  4. Course Requirements
    1. Lecture: homework assignments; weekly quizzes; midterm and final exam
    2. Quizzes and exams are timed.
  5. Information on Books and Other Course Materials
    1. Required Book: Criminalistics: An Introduction to Forensic Science. 12th Edition. Saferstein. 2018. Pearson Prentice Hall. (ISBN: 9780134477596)
  6. Other Policies, Procedures and important dates. Please refer to the WTC Catalog for the following:
    1. Campus Calendar
    2. Final exam schedule
    3. How to drop a class
    4. Withdrawal information
    5. Student Conduct/Academic Integrity
    6. Students with disabilities
  7. Course Sequence & Content

Chapter 1

Introduction: Definition and Scope of Forensic Science


History and Development of Forensic Science


Crime Laboratories


Organization of a Crime Laboratory


Case Files: Forensic Science Helps Unravel the Mystery of the Anthrax Letters


Case Files:  Dr. Coppolino’s Deadly House Calls

Chapter 2

The Crime Scene: Processing the Crime Scene


Collecting and Packaging Physical Evidence


Maintaining the Chain of Custody


Ensuring Crime-Scene Safety


Legal considerations at the Crime Scene


Case Study: Enrique Camarena Case: A Forensic Nightmare

Chapter 3

Physical Evidence: Common Types of Physical Evidence


The Significance of Physical Evidence


Forensic Databases


Case Files: Gerald Wallace


Case Files: The Center City Rapist


Case Files: NIBIN Links Handgun to Suspects


Case Files: Aztec Gold Metallic Hit and Run

Chapter 6

Fingerprints: History of Fingerprinting


Fundamental Principles of Fingerprinting


Classifications of Fingerprints


Automated Fingerprint Identification Systems


Methods of detecting Fingerprints


Case Files: The Night Stalker


Case Files: They Mayfield Affair


Preservation of Developed Prints


Digital Imaging for Fingerprint Enhancement

Chapter 19

Computer Forensics- optional

Chapter 20

Mobile Device Forensics-optional


Last Modified/Reviewed: May 9, 2019