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  • Celebrating 20 Years of Training Excellence 2004-2024

man on the ground
  • Cold Case Homicide Investigation

The Cold Case Homicide investigation course will train police officers in the investigation of Cold case Homicides and any other case defined as a cold case. In our 16-hour course the student will define what is a cold case and why cases go cold. The student will learn about forming a cold case unit, selecting the personnel, evaluating the cases, the process of the cold case investigation, updates on forensics including DNA, forensic genealogy, investigative resources, and will work a cold case in the class. The target audience for this course is, but not limited to, in service law enforcement personnel (detectives, supervisors, patrol officers), missing person investigators, death investigation investigators, sexual assault investigators, and any other personnel involved in the investigation of cold cases involving homicide, missing persons, sexual assault, or any case determined by an agency to be a cold case.

Course Outline

Day One

  • Goals and introductions
  • Cold Case Definition
  • What are Cold Cases
  • Why cases go cold
  • What types of cases
  • Evaluating Cases
  • Solvability determinations
  • Legal Issues Related to Cold Cases
  • Statute of Limitations
  • Evidence
  • Various court decisions used to illustrate the above points as they relate to cold case investigations.
  • Interrogation Law
  • Basic Cold Case Investigation
  • Outside sources of information
  • Re-interview original witness, family, friends, suspects
  • Identify and interview new potential witnesses
  • Experts
  • Case studies to reinforce the points of basic investigation

The student will learn critical forensic components essential for investigating cold cases including homicides, missing persons, no-body cases, and sexual assaults. The student will also learn additional resources for cold case investigation.

  • Forensics
  • Trace Evidence
  • Firearms
  • DNA
  • Scene Examination
  • Missing person and no body cases
  • Forensic Anthropology/Forensic Dentistry
  • Case studies to reinforce the points of forensic investigation

Day Two

The students will learn to examine two cold case homicides. The students will not be told which case has been solved and will examine files and photographs to develop an investigative plan.

  • Goals
  • Cold Case Examination
  • Students will be placed into small groups
  • Students will be given a cold case file (solved case)
  • Instructions on the examination process will be provided
  • Students will examine the file
  • Each group will present their investigation plan.


  • I will continue to use and pass on this information because I really believe in the instructors and their approach.

    —Kimberly Meyer, Washoe County Sheriff's Department
  • This training provided the useful tools necessary for assessing the veracity of a suspected child abuser, which goes a long way in helping to protect children.

    —Sunny Burgan, MSSW, LCSW, Social Work Supervisor, Santa Clara County DFCS
  • Your training gave me the confidence and tools to interview the suspect for over 5 hours and to bring a closure to the case.

    —Daniel Phelan, San Jose Police Department
  • Your training has made the greatest and most direct impact on my assignment of any training class that I've taken.

    —Ken Gelskey, National City Police Department
  • This was, by far and away the best training I have received in 15 plus years of Law Enforcement. The instructors are experienced, engaging, articulate, and very entertaining. I will be recommending this training to multiple agencies.

    —Mark Paynter, Oregon DOC
  • It not often that you go to a training that you really, really want to pay attention to. Because of the high quality information and style of presentation, I knew that if I looked away I was going to miss out.

    —Quinten Graves, Oregon State Police
  • The information presented was highly relevant to my job and was presented in a manner that was organized and very easy to digest.

    —Michael McGarvey, California State Prison, San Quentin
  • I highly recommend this training for any Probation staff who have the necessity to interview/interrogate individuals for investigation purposes.

    —R. Bret Fidler, Santa Clara County Probation Department
  • Incredible training with amazing real world instruction. I have been taking law enforcement classes for over 30 years and by far this is the best presented and most useful.

    —Det. Brian Dale, Portland Police Bureau
  • This training by far has been the most informative and most effective I've attended. The instructors engaged the students in a manner that made me want to speak my opinion, ask questions, and participate.

    —Julio Ibarra, Merced County Sheriff’s Office
  • Instructional style is engaging and highly effective.

    —George Laing, Fire Prevention Captain, Investigator
  • This was, by far, one of the most useful training classes I've attended since becoming an investigator.

    —Steven Aiello, Antioch Police Department
  • Effective teaching teams! The presentation of the material was consistently interesting, and intelligent without being too intellectualized.

    —Michele Keller, Deputy Probation Officer, County of Alameda