Deputy Sheriffs’ Curriculum Development Program

Temple University’s Criminal Justice Training Programs (CJTP), under contract to the Pennsylvania Deputy Sheriffs’ Education and Training Board and the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency, is presently engaged in a curriculum development project to revise the Pennsylvania Deputy Sheriffs’ Basic Training Curriculum. Originally written in 1984 by Temple University, the program included 160 hours of basic training in traditional deputy-related job functions. The original curriculum included topics such as Introduction to Criminal Justice, Unified Courts of Pennsylvania, Civil Law and Procedure, Mechanics of Arrest, Defensive Tactics, Firearms, Crisis Intervention, Communications, First Aid and CPR, Courtroom Security, Prisoner Transportation, Professional Development, and Ethics.

For this project in summer 1999, Temple conducted a statewide job task needs analysis. The survey was administered by U.S. mail to the population of 67 county Sheriffs and approximately 1500 deputy sheriffs throughout the Commonwealth. With a statistically significant survey response rate of 42%, Temple analyzed the data and concluded that the role of the Deputy Sheriff had expanded beyond the job task boundaries of the traditional civil law and courthouse functions. It was determined that the Deputies were increasingly engaged in patrol functions, emergency vehicle operations, community-oriented law enforcement, service of protection from abuse orders, confiscation of firearms, motor vehicle code enforcement, and criminal investigations. To validate this new information, Temple hosted three focus groups in the eastern, central, and western regions of the Commonwealth. With Allentown, Harrisburg, and Pittsburgh as the focus group venues, sheriffs and deputies were invited to review the survey results with representatives from Temple University, and discuss the training policy implications with administrators from the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency. With the survey’s findings validated in three focus groups, the proposal for an expanded training curriculum was reviewed and accepted by the Deputy Sheriffs’ Education and Training Board and the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency.

In the early spring of 2000, Temple began writing the first 560 hours of the Deputy Sheriffs’ Basic Training Program that is required of all new deputy sheriffs in Pennsylvania hired after July 2000. The 560 hour curriculum encompasses both the traditional civil court functions and training, and expanded law enforcement topics such as Criminal Law and Criminal Procedure, Cultural Diversity, Special Needs Groups, Families in Crisis and Domestic Violence, Emergency Vehicle Operations, Hate Crimes/Ethnic Intimidation, Physical Conditioning, and Less than Lethal Weapons. Continuing this effort, CJTP wrote an addition 200 hours of the basic training including topics such as Motor Vehicle Code Enforcement, Accident Investigation, Principles of Criminal Investigation, Patrol Functions and Procedures, and Law Enforcement and Technology. The total 760-hour curriculum project was completed in late 2001. All presentations in the basic training were created in state of the art, multimedia intense format. The curriculum includes extensive use of computer imaging, pictures, graphics, and videos and comes with Instructor Guides and Student Study Guides coordinated to the presentation. The entire curriculum is contained and stored on a 40 CD set or the equivalent of a 5 DVDs.


About the Pennsylvania State Constables Training Program

Temple University’s Criminal Justice Training Programs (CJTP), under contract to the Pennsylvania Constables’ Education and Training Board and the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency, was engaged in a curriculum development project beginning in October, 1999 and ending in October, 2003. The project included five significant parts: (1) revision of the Constables’ Basic Training Program, (2) revision of the Constables’ Basic Firearm Training Program, (3) creation of yearly curriculum for the Constables’ Continuing Education Program, (4) creation of yearly curriculum for the Constables’ Firearm Continuing Education Program and Re-qualification, (5) creation and delivery of Instructor Development Program and yearly delivery of Instructor Familiarization Programs. During the first two years of the contract, Temple revised the 80-hour Constables’ Basic Training Program that is currently required of all new constables and deputy constables in Pennsylvania. The basic training curriculum was created in state of the art, multimedia intense format, including extensive use of computer imaging, pictures, graphics, and videos. The curriculum includes Instructor Guides and Student Study Guides coordinated to the presentation.

During 2000, Temple created the curriculum for and made two presentation of an Instructor Development Program. This intensive, 40-hour teaching techniques and methodology course is designed to prepare those with considerable practical experience – but little formal experience as a classroom instructor – to assume the duties of a training instructor for one or more of the constable training programs. Three classes of new instructors were taught during 2000 and 2001, with additional classes scheduled on an as-needed basis. Also completed during 2000, Temple revised the Constables’ Firearms Basic Training Program. This program, which is the initial firearms training required of all constables and deputy constables who will carry a firearm, was originally only a 20-hour program. After assessment and evaluation by Temple, the Constables Training Board approved an increase in hours for this program, doubling the basic training instruction to 40 hours. The instruction now requires approximately two days classroom lecture and instruction and three days practical range activity and drills, including a qualification course of fire that must be successfully completed for the firearms certification. This program was adopted by the Constables Training Board in 2001 and now is the required training standard for those that wish to carry a firearm in the course of their constable duties.

Temple’s curriculum for the Constables’ Continuing Education Program, a 20-hour annual training requirement, was implemented for the first time in 2001. The topics developed for 2001 were Professional Updates and Crisis Intervention. Also in 2001, a new 20-hour Constable Firearm Continuing Education Program curriculum was introduced along with a new re-qualification course of fire. CJTP continued to develop Continuing Education and Firearms Curricula for the 2002, 2003, and 2004 training cycles. Some other topics included: Legal Updates, Mechanics of Arrest, Domestic Violence, Defensive Tactics, and Handling the Mentally Ill. The curriculum for these topics used the same state of the art, multimedia intense techniques as described for the basic training program. To help instructors prepare for the delivery of these programs, CJTP has worked closely with the training provider schools and conducted Instructor Familiarization Programs for all those instructors who teach the topics around the state. These one and two day programs review salient lesson points, suggest methods of presentation, and discuss application of teaching skills. Beginning with the 2001 training cycle and continuing through 2003, Temple arranged for a live Internet broadcast of this program allowing many instructors from around the state to complete the familiarization course through distance learning. The interactive, real time presentation is thought to be one of the first applications of this new technology for instructor preparation and training in a criminal justice occupation in Pennsylvania.