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Missouri Legal Update Lesson Summaries


2021 Lesson 2: Diverse Communities


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This is an online interpersonal perspectives course focused on diverse communities, cultural competence, bias prevention, and a history of the American civil rights movement.

Section one defines cultural competence and explores why the concept is important to the law enforcement community. It explains how cultural competence can be practiced at the individual and organizational level.

Section two examines elements of culture and describes how those elements distinguish one culture from another. It explores concepts of race and ethnicity, including how racial labels can vary over time and from one location to another. The lesson describes the following elements of culture and how those can shape a person’s experiences and perspectives: language and communication; geographic location; values and traditions; family and kinship; gender roles; socioeconomic status and education; immigration and migration; heritage and history; sexuality; perspectives on health, illness, and healing; and religion and spirituality.

Section three provides a summary of certain noteworthy people and events that are part of the history of the American civil rights movement, including: slavery; abolition; reconstruction; the Jim Crow era; lynchings; school segregation; the Great Migration; World War I and the Red Summer; mass violence against Black Americans; civil rights protests of the 1960s; Rosa Parks; Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.; Malcom X; the Little Rock Nine; the Freedom Riders; and other people and events.

Section four examines paths for self-evaluation and engaging with diverse communities. It explains how individuals can examine how culture has influenced their own perspectives and that of others. It explains how law enforcement agencies can practice cultural competence and how an agency might use a racial equity toolkit.

2021 Lesson 1: First Amendment Law


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This is an online legal studies course regarding First Amendment law. Section one addresses the right to assemble. It examines public forums and nonpublic forums and explains that the government is more limited it its ability to regulate speech in public forums. This section explores examples of protected activities and non-protected activities as well as constitutional and unconstitutional anti-assembly ordinances.

Section two addresses when law enforcement officers may use force against protesters by examining actual cases.

Section three addresses symbolic speech, including tents on public property, cross burning, and flag burning. The section examines when symbolic speech is protected by the First Amendment and when it is not.

Section four examines categories of unprotected speech, including fighting words, true threats, speech inciting imminent lawless action, obscenity, child pornography, defamation, fraud, and speech integral to criminal conduct. It provides actual case examples where officers had to determine whether certain speech was protected by the First Amendment or criminalized.

Section five addresses speech directed at police officers. It explains that officers are expected to exercise a higher degree of restraint than ordinary citizens when responding to fighting words. It also explains an officer’s duty not to retaliate in response to protected First Amendment activity. Finally, it addresses when officers will be protected by qualified immunity from retaliatory arrest lawsuits.

Section six addresses the right of people to record public police activity and provides actual case examples.

Section seven examines the First Amendment rights of police officers. It examines when law enforcement officer speech is protected by the First Amendment and provides examples of when it is not.


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