Online Forensic Resources? Yes! Enough Said

Training. How can you get it? Where to find it? Where to start? What classes should be taken? Ugh….(don’t pull your hair out). We at Forensic Training Unlimited, want to get YOU trained. Recently, we held a webinar focusing upon our January Forensic Workshops, Photoshop and Forensics, and Bullet Trajectory. The webinar focused upon the benefits of attending extra, outside of “school”, training. Why attend courses? Why train? Networking with others, developing experience in the subject matter, finding solutions to the scenarios given, and of course, learning new techniques, are just some of the benefits to you (your resume will thank you). For entry level positions, agencies aren’t just looking for the recent college grad nor are they looking for the most experienced. They are looking for YOU. The you who wants forensic training, the you who has or is working on your degree, the you who has the maturity to know sacrifices will need to be made for your career goals, the you who who is READY to get trained!

Here are two ways to get started: sign up for an online course and sign up for educational guides, reports, ebooks.

These are two courses I would recommend:

Computer Forensics

Why Computer Forensics? Because you need TRAINING! Whether this is your topic of interest or not, it’s best to get trained in areas where you may be associated with because you are part of a TEAM, a team of experts working toward the same goal: collecting evidence to help solve the crime!

Public Speaking 101

Are you afraid to address a crowd? Do you get “sweaty” at the mere mention of getting in front of your classroom to deliver a speech or presenting to your fellow co-workers? You will need to overcome these fears before you testify in court. There is no greater experience than speaking before others, sharing your expertise, your knowledge, your skills, with the jurors. This course is a MUST!

The other way to get started? Start READING and LISTENING!

Sign up for forensic journals, magazines, forensic related magazines, guides, and forensic related recorded content.

The first of these items, 18 Steps to Crime Scene Investigation, is a free guide describing steps used in processing a homicide scene. Check it out! It’s FREE and it’s a great first step in getting started!!

Search for and download forensic content on podcasts and other audio resources (check out There are many audio resources. GO FIND THEM!

Ok, my super sleuths, you have work to do.

Please connect with us! We want to get you trained. Stay tuned for more reading and learning opportunities. 

In one of our future posts, our monthly webinar series will be the focus. Stay tuned. 

Forensic Workshops: A Review

Forensic Workshops: A Review

Sorry for the late notice:

We received many inquires about the two workshops offered  this month (January 2014). The webinar, held last Monday, focused on the benefits of attending a workshop. Our first workshop, Forensics and Photoshop, was very popular, and we expect our next workshop, Bullet Trajectory, to reach registration capacity. View the slideshow link and you will see the presentation that was covered during the webinar. If you live locally (Southern California) or want to take a short 2 day vacation, register and get trained. This workshop is a 2 day, 16 hour, hands-on workshop.  All participants who have completed the workshop will receive a certificate of completion. Cost is $199. Register here. Location is Long Beach, CA. 

CSI Rover, Paw City PD. Enough Said.

CSI Rover, Paw City PD, reports:

(Below is from UC Davis Veterinary Medicine, Veterinary Genetics Laboratory News;

The CANINE CODIS database is the first multi-agency forensic DNA database of dogs. To help stop dog fighting using tools of the 21st century, the Missouri Humane society, the ASPCA, the Louisiana SPCA, and the UC Davis Veterinary Genetics Laboratory have come together to establish the first ever database dedicated to combating the crime of Copyright 2012 The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA)dog fighting. This database is similar to the FBI’s human CODIS database used in criminal and missing person investigations. The CANINE CODIS database contains individual DNA profiles from dogs that are seized during dog fighting investigations as well as profiles from unknown samples collected at suspected dog fighting venues. DNA will be used to identify relationships between dogs and thereby allow investigators to expand their investigations to those who breed and train dogs for fighting. (photo credit*)

Blood collected from dog fighting sites will be searched against the CANINE CODIS database to identify the source. This database provides the criminal justice system with a powerful tool for investigating and prosecuting these cases.

Upon seizure of the dogs, cheek swabs are collected and submitted to the laboratory for DNA testing. The DNA profile is then searched against the CANINE CODIS database. In the event that the query returns a “hit”, the agency submitting the query sample and the agency that submitted the database sample are notified. This exchange of information will help prosecutors to expand and strengthen dog fighting investigations.

VGL does not support breed-specific legislation. This database contains no breed-specific information and cannot be used for that purpose. It is established solely for prosecuting criminal dog fighting cases, and only law enforcement professionals engaged in investigating dog fighting casework can contribute samples.

* Copyright 2012 The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA). All Rights Reserved. Photo courtesy of Bizelli Photography, St. Louis, MO

Networking. Enough Said.

Being home sick (yes, it’s that time of year), and having plenty of time on my hands, I usually find myself thinking about the events that propelled my academic and professional career. Yesterday was one of those days. One of these “events” was a TV show called “Quincy, M.E.”. Starring Jack Klugman in the title role, he was a Los Angeles County medical examiner, who solved crimes and did “everything” associated with the crime (think CSI shows—ALL the lab work, field work, interrogation, and investigation duties are done by the CSI team members. Quincy’s character is loosely modeled on Los Angeles’ “Coroner to the Stars” Thomas Noguchi, who I had the pleasure to meet and speak with at the West Coast Training Conference, presented by the County of Los Angeles Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner (training tip: the next conference is scheduled for April 23, 24, and 25 and welcomes students).

Dr. Janis Cavanaugh, myself, and Dr. Thomas Noguchi at West Coast Coroner Conference.

Dr. Janis Cavanaugh, myself, and Dr. Thomas Noguchi at West Coast Coroner Conference.

I stress to all those we train, either via  the Forensic Science Academy or  through Forensic Training Unlimited,  that one of the keys in establishing  professional mentor relationships,  and  perhaps  landing a forensic  position,  is  networking! Networking  is an often  stated pre-employment  “tip”,  spoken  by those who are now  working in a  forensic position and  have “been in your shoes” before. Networking  must be  planted and nurtured for  growth, not forced or having the “what can you do  for me” attitude. Having just returned from another conference (SCAFO—they offer 1 day training seminars throughout the year and a yearly 3 day training conference), this was the perfect vehicle for my current students to showcase their training experience, their educational achievements, and get to know these professionals as experts in their respective fields.

Diana Castro (L), me (Center), and Dr. Janis Cavanaugh (R)

Diana Castro (L), me (Center), and Dr. Janis Cavanaugh (R)

I’ve had the pleasure of  having two main  mentors in my  professional life. Diana  Castro, Latent Print  Supervisor, LAPD (ret.)  and Dr. Janis  Cavanaugh, Forensic  Educator, East Los  Angeles College (and  founder of the Forensic  Science Academy).  These two individuals  have molded and  guided my academic  career and I credit them for giving me their time, sharing their knowledge, and allowing me to “ring them up” at times when I didn’t know which way to turn or what to do!

Whatever forensic training program you participate in, whatever educational institute you attend and graduate from, whatever goals you have, don’t underestimate your ability to complete what lies before you and start including the art of networking into your arsenal of “weapons” in landing YOUR forensic position.

I’m here to help YOU! ENOUGH SAID.

Active Mind, Active Body. Enough Said.


Register Now: Forensic Webinar FREE

Title: Workshop Seminar Information Session

Description: We will be answering your questions about our upcoming forensic workshops. Both workshops, Photoshop and Forensics, and Bullet Trajectory, are scheduled for January 2014.

Date & Time: Mon, Dec 30th, 2013 at 7:00 pm PST

Please register for the above meeting by visiting this link:

Once you have registered, we will send you the information you need to join the webinar. This is the PREMIER webinar for those of you searching for forensic training. The webinar will cover questions about our upcoming January Seminar Series.

Merry Christmas. Enough Said.

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas

Crazy Thinking. Enough Said.

Starting February 2014, our next set of courses will feature a 32 hour training core class, Profiling Serial Killers.  This topic has always been popular with students majoring in psychology, forensics, or sociology. One case that captured the attention of many, including myself, was John List. He killed all members of his family, including his mother, his wife and their three children. After the murders, John List assumed false identity and avoided justice for almost 18 years. He was apprehended in 1989, sentenced to five consecutive life terms and died of pneumonia in jail in 2008.

Born on September 17, 1925 in Bay City, Michigan, John was a devoted church man, even teaching Sunday school to children. When he left the military, he got a degree in business from the University of Michigan, and became an accountant. In 1951, John List met his wife, Helen.

John List 3

On November 9, 1971, while his children were at school, John List shot  to death his wife. John then shot his mother dead. His mother, who  lived upstairs from the main house, was later found where she was  shot. John later recalled she was too heavy to move downstairs with  the others.

When 16 year old daughter, Patricia, and 13 year old son, Frederick, returned home from school, John killed both of them. John then ate a sandwich.

John Junior, 15 years old, was playing a soccer game after school. John Senior picked up his son, and drove them back to the house. John Senior entered the house first, and shot John Junior to the back of the head. The initial shot didn’t kill John Junior and seeing him still alive, John Senior shot his son 10 more times.

Once his entire family was dead, the murderer cleaned up the crime scene, turned on all the  lights and the radio, washed the dishes and put them in the strainer. List family on floor Afterwards he proceeded to write a letter to his pastor, telling him of the  murders and the evidence but not before writing notes to the school his  children attended, informing them that they would be in North Carolina for some time.

John List canceled the mail and other services.  He cleaned out his and his mother’s bank accounts and fled. His car was found at the airport, but there was no record of him taking a flight. He simply disappeared.

In 1989 America’s Most Wanted, the television show, asked Frank Bender, a well known forensic artist who had helped to solve many cases with his forensic artistry skill, to produce a bust of John List. What made the List case particularly challenging, was Frank Bender had to produce a bust of John List looking 18 years older than when the List murders occurred. Frank’s bust was perfect, down to the pair of square glasses that he intuited List would wear.

Based on Frank’s model, List, now remarried and living in Denver, had assumed the identity  of Robert “Bob” Clark, JOHN LISTand was identified by a neighbor, and later  captured. He was in detention for 8 months and 15 days before admitting  his true identity.

On April 12, 1990, a New Jersey court convicted John List of five counts  of first-degree murder. On May 1, judge sentenced him to five  consecutive terms of life imprisonment. He would serve his term until his death on March 21, 2008. He was 82 years old.

The most often asked question is why?

In John List’s case, he had lost his job, and felt that his family could not  forsake their lavish life style. He was deeply in debt, owing over $10,000  on his house and more on wife’s medication for advanced dementia  caused by Syphilis. He hid the fact that he was unemployed from the  family by leaving every day for work and spending the time sitting at a  local train station.

I know what you’re thinking…that’s crazy! It’s this “crazy thinking” that inspired us to offer the profiling course. Come join us!

Great Infographic for our students at Forensic Training Unlimited!

Great Infographic for our students at Forensic Science Unlimited!

This tool is from a FANTASTIC text book: Practical Homicide Investigation. Purchase it! Tell me what you think!

Got Forensics? Get a Job!

Have you ever scratched your head, in disbelief, not knowing what to do next, wondering what else you can do, and thinking where else you can search for a forensic job? Of course you have! You think, I’ve got a great education, know people, and have some additional training (if you haven’t done so already, get some training with us or with another training program), and STILL you can’t find a forensic job. You’ve come close but still no cigar!!

how to get a job Here’s a checklist to keep you on track!  YES, you CAN do this! YOU can and WILL  find that forensic job. It’s going to take  patience, determination, and sometimes the journey will be one of self discovery, especially if you don’t pass the initial written test, the oral interview, or even backgrounds. No one said this job journey would be easy, but if you want it bad enough YOU will keep going forward, keeping in mind you must do EVERYTHING in your arsenal of “weapons” (refining your resume, taking additional training courses, networking more, and telling EVERYONE what your professional goals are) to get you to the position you’ve trained for all your life (ok, maybe not ALL your life).

Keep going, and keep checking back here for tips. Contact me. I want to HELP YOU get the training you need and the job you want!