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Good question! If you take into consideration that the CEFR (Common European Framework of Reference, Council of Europe, 2001) describes the levels of proficiency going from A1 basic user to C2 native proficiency, and consider the various corresponding can do statements, there is a lot to say for starting with an approach that would involve more generic parts of a foreign language, before you expose a learner to the more professional areas of language that are relevant to him/her. This is especially useful if the learner has to communicate with native speakers of the target langue, who tend to use idiomatic constructions from every day language, rather than the specialist vocabulary your students would learn if you'd start out with these from level 0.

Of course, you should make the target language as interesting as possible for your learners, so you should design learning contexts and language tasks so they suit the learning needs the students might have. You could, for instance, design a basic user language task (e.g. A conversation or discussion about personal interests, level A1-A2) for law enforcement, turning it into an informal interview with a witness (what did you see, where were you...).

Key words are: needs assessment, task based language learning (and teaching). You will find a lot of interesting research in the field of TBLT, so my best bet is to look for more answers there.