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Death and Homicide Investigations - PATC

Class Length: 40 hours
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30-Day Release


Course Objectives:

Law enforcement officers, when assigned to investigate violent crime incidents are placed in a position of responsibility that quite frankly, failure is not an accepted option. Within the rank and file of the agency, to society at large, persons place demands upon officers to solve crimes as quickly as possible. Fair or unfair as it may be, it is a reality that each officer senses and thus compels him or her to produce results. However, as with any discipline, when human resources are rushed, regardless of the endeavor, mistakes are made. Things are overlooked. To reiterate, when a person is physically assaulted, or worst human life itself is taken through violence failure is not an option. People who victimize other must be held accountable for crimes committed and the criminal justice system is the government arm that must provide the resources necessary to bring justice to bear.


Course Overview:

In response to the realities set forth in the Statement of Fact, what can or should be done to ensure case resolution. Moreover, what if anything can be done to eliminate, or at the very least mitigate the potential for error. The answer is to provide for and establish the framework of a multifaceted investigative approach. From the initial response through litigation, each facet will be covered in this course of instruction so that an all-encompassing and most intrusive investigative approach can be carried out. To that end participants will be taking part in work groups to identify and establish investigative resources that are foundational to the investigative process. After establishing the foundation of the investigative framework, the course will segue to the application of behavioral analysis of violent crime as part of the investigative process.

Incidents of violence are replete with behavior, inclusive of aberrant sexual behavior, between the victims and offenders. Understanding those demonstrated behaviors by officers tasked with investigating such incidents are of great value in the effort to solve such incidents. Therefore, through an interactive classroom setting, participants will learn the value of applying behavioral science with forensic science in order to enhance their understanding of why the violence occurred and thus greatly increase the solvability rate of such incidents. To accomplish this, participants will be exposed to a myriad of topics with an emphasis on understanding the motivating factors of offenders. Additionally, utilizing actual cases, participants will be instructed on how to conduct crime scene assessments and then apply that knowledge to violent crime incidents.

The 5-day course of instruction will culminate with a case practicum in order for the participants to demonstrate their newly acquired proficiency.

Topics Covered:

1. Multidisciplinary Team Approach - Identifying the Need for Standardization

2. Forensic Science and Behavioral Science - Unity of Approach

3. Historical Perspective on Behavioral Analysis of Violent Crime

4. Research Methodology of Violent Crime Offenders

5. Criminal Investigative Assessment Process

6. Application of Victimology

7. Utility of Victim and Suspect Checklists

8. Identification of Personality Traits of Offenders

9. Formulation of Investigative, Interview and Trial Strategies

10. Understanding Reflective Crime Scenes

11. Assessing Violent Crime in Segments

12. Offender Dichotomies

13. Sexual Deviancy

14. Role of Fantasy in Violent Crime

15. Offender Typologies

16. Prosecutorial Considerations

17. Defense Issues

18. Equivocal Death Investigations

19. Paralogical Reasoning

20. Behaviorally Based Interviewing

21. Case Studies

22. Case Practicums




Preferred audience is experienced criminal investigators. 




Instructor: Wayne Sheppard

Wayne Sheppard assists local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies in areas such as violent crime analysis, case consultations and investigative assistance as requested by law enforcement in the United States and abroad. Additionally, he provides training in violent crime analysis, crime scene assessments, the design of law enforcement policies and procedures, the development of regional response plans, and other efforts aimed at enhancing an agency’s overall investigative response to violent crime incidents, missing, abducted and exploited children incidents.

He is an international lecturer on behavioral crime scene assessments and murder and rape typologies and has conducted research in the areas of serial homicide and child homicides.

Mr. Sheppard is a retired member of the Pennsylvania State Police where he held a number of investigative and supervisory positions. Prior to his retirement, he was the supervisor of the Criminal Investigation Assessment Unit, where he was responsible for the investigation and coordination of psychosexual homicide, serial rape, and other behaviorally based crimes occurring in Pennsylvania, also, the supervisor of the Missing Persons Unit where he provided investigative assistance for law enforcement in missing and sexually exploited children cases, and the Amber Alert Coordinator where he created and implemented the Pennsylvania Amber Alert Program for Pennsylvania.

He has also addressed professionals representing the disciplines of law enforcement, corrections, social work, probation and parole, medicine, law, television, radio and academia on a national and international basis.

He is the recipient of numerous awards both nationally and internationally for his support and expertise in violent crime and child exploitation investigations.

Mr. Sheppard is a member of the Vidocq Society, a group comprised of experts from various disciplines across the country that provide pro bono services in the investigation and analysis of unsolved violent crimes occurring in the United States.

He is the past Vice-President of the Pennsylvania Homicide Investigators Association, Virginia Homicide Investigators Association, and past board member of the Attorney General’s Legal/Medical Advisory Board on Elder Abuse.