Department of Criminal Justice, Legal Studies & Social Work

BS-CJ: Law Enforcement

An A.S. in Criminal Justice or a B.S. Concentration Law Enforcement is an excellent degree for any student interested in becoming a law enforcement officer at the local, state, or federal level. Almost all the Criminal Justice/Legal Studies courses required for our degrees are available online or face-to-face, depending on the semester.

Our department has a fully integrated Law Enforcement Academy. You can earn up to 21 college credits toward your degree while attending our academy. If you pass your POST examination and you are 21 years of age you have the minimum training required to become a police officer in most departments in Missouri (and many other states).

Our forensic investigation classes are a unique opportunity to learn from imminent professionals in the field. While these classes are part of our Master’s Degree in Forensic Investigation, our undergraduate students can also take these classes to count toward their B.S.

Our graduates have obtained jobs with agencies at all these levels. From the FBI, Secret Service, Drug Enforcement Agency to state highway patrols to local police departments, large and small, law enforcement offers a broad range of experiences and opportunities.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Handbook estimates a 5% job growth rate from 2012 to 2022 for police officers. However, it predicts there could be high competition for these jobs. While a High School diploma and our academy meet a minimum qualification for some departments, a college degree is required for others. The Handbook lists the following relevant typical activities:

Uniformed police officers typically do the following:

  • Enforce laws
  • Respond to emergency and non-emergency calls
  • Patrol assigned areas
  • Conduct traffic stops and issue citations
  • Obtain warrants and arrest suspects
  • Write detailed reports and fill out forms
  • Prepare cases and testify in court

Detectives and criminal investigators typically do the following:

  • Investigate crimes
  • Collect and secure evidence from crime scenes
  • Conduct interviews with suspects and witnesses
  • Observe the activities of suspects
  • Obtain warrants and arrest suspects
  • Write detailed reports and fill out forms
  • Prepare cases and testify in court