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Forensic Field Guide Series

The Center for Professional Development at the University of Denver is proud to announce a special series of interactive workshops that will bring the crime shows to you!

Immerse yourself into the world of forensics, criminal minds, and the justice system and earn CE credits. 

Thank you for attending

If you registered for this event, please look for a reminder email with all pertinent details (including location, parking information, etc.) on Monday, January 23. If you pre-purchased a parking permit, expect to receive your permit in this email. Thank you!

Lead by: Chris Schaefer & Doug Pearson, both employees of large Denver metropolitan law enforcement agencies. 

Four distinct Forensic Field Guide Workshops on the following vital topics:

Forensic Interview Techniques: Securing Truth from Reluctant People

Wednesday, February 22, 2017 - 5pm - 9pm

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$99 - 4 CE

Course Title: Forensic Interview Techniques: Securing Truth from Reluctant People

Course Description: Have you ever wondered why people confess to horrific crimes, leading to a lifetime in prison or even the death penalty? How many times have you watched the evening news and thought, "There is no way I would have confessed to that!" The truth is, there is usually a skilled law enforcement agent at the heart of the story, someone who was able to gain the criminal's trust and secure the confession. Now, imagine how useful those interview techniques might be in your own life, whether you're a mental health practitioner, social worker, lawyer, or anyone who works with sometimes-deceptive people. Join Colorado law enforcement officers Chris Schaefer and Doug Pearson as they share the techniques they use to read body language, to unlock resistance, and to gain trust. Using real-life stories, in-class activities as well as videos from actual interviews they've conducted, Pearson and Schaefer (who has been a polygraph examiner for 17 years) teach the skills that lead people to share things they are reluctant to share. Learn how to read the signs of a deceptive person and how to know when someone is telling the truth. What is the line between interviewing and coercing? Schaefer and Pearson share true stories and also reveal the difficulties inherent in working with criminals. Often, agents must make difficult choices and say difficult things in order to gain a criminal's trust. Come away with new skills that may enhance your own work as you also gain a better understanding of one facet of our criminal justice system.

Continuing education credits available to all attendees.

Learning Objectives: Participants in this course will benefit from the following skills and information:

  • Listen for cues that reveal a person's truthfulness
  • Recognize behaviors and body language that indicate a person is lying
  • Ways to speak and behave to gain a person's trust, unlocking their body language and their story
  • Observe real forensic investigations via video, analyzing what worked and why

Gangs 101: Outlaw Motorcycle Gangs

Saturday, October 29, 2016 - 8am - 4pm

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$199 - 8 CE

Course Description: Thanks to the popular television series, Sons of Anarchy, the country has become enthralled with the idea of outlaw motorcycle gangs (OMGs). But how realistic is the show? And why is it a bad idea to popularize and romanticize such gangs? Join Colorado law enforcement officers and OMG experts Chris Schaefer and Doug Pearson for an introduction to the truth behind the leather jackets and loud bikes. Start with a brief history of motorcycle gangs, which were first formed in the 1940s at the end of World War II. During the Hollister Motorcycle Rally on July 4, 1947, "The Pissed Off Bastards of Bloomington" (POBOBS) incited a riot that led to beatings and stabbings. Learn why these gangs refer to themselves as "one percenters" and discover the premise behind their culture of law-breaking. Next, go deep into the world of biker patches. A patch announces a biker's gang, while the "bottom rocker" of a patch generally shares a biker's territory or state. Did you know that bikers have been murdered for displaying their gang's patch in enemy territory? Schaefer and Pearson also discuss individual gangs, including the Hells Angels, Bandidos, Sons of Silence and the Mongols. While these gangs identify themselves differently, they are all guilty of the same types of crimes, including drug use and sales, assaults and murder. Learn about some of the high-profile acts of violence committed by these gangs, including the 2006 Sturgis rally where gangs shot it out. Schaefer and Pearson share police videos of gangs and rallies. Finally, discover the roles that women play in the gangs. Women are considered the property of bikers and wear patches that say "Property of..." If you've read news bout the Hells Angels Toy Run and thought, "hey, these guys aren't so bad," take this course and learn the truth behind the headlines.

This course is ideal for forensics and mental health professionals who want a better understanding of this underground world. Additionally, those who are simply curious about OMGs, especially in light of the recent shooting at the January 2016 Motorcycle Expo, will also enjoy this class.

Learning Objectives: Participants in this course will be introduced to the following:

  • Brief history of outlaw motorcycle gangs (OMGs)
  • The power of the patch
  • Information about some of the most famous OMGs
  • High profile acts of violence committed by OMGs
  • The role of women in OMGs

Anatomy of a School Shooting

Wednesday, September 28, 2016 - 6pm - 9pm 

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$79 - 3 CE

Course Description: On September 27, 2006, Duane Morrison entered Platte Canyon High School (PCHS). He took seven girls hostage and, for five hours, police, negotiators and SWAT teams tried to secure the girls' safe release. Ultimately, six of the girls survived but Morrison shot 16-year-old Emily Keyes and himself. Join Chris Schaefer, Agent in Charge with the Colorado Bureau of Investigation and lead investigator on this case, as he walks you through the events that unfolded that day and then takes you through the years-long investigation that has developed since. Of course, hindsight is 20/20, but if we don't learn from these events, we are doomed to see them repeated. Learn about the planning and actions that PCHS and local law enforcement did right, ultimately limiting the scope of the tragedy. How might mental health professionals have caught the signs of a deteriorating mind before Morrison ever got to the campus? What are the still-unknown facts and clues into Morrison's motives that plague agents who investigated the case? School administrators, mental health professionals, criminal justice professionals and legal experts will benefit from the behind-the-scenes look into a horrific event that they themselves may be in a position to prevent in the future. Schaefer provides a first-person accounting of the case in a way that takes it beyond the media sound bites, leading you to better understand the system vulnerabilities (in our schools, our mental health agencies and our criminal justice system) that you may be able to address in your own environment. For example, Morrison had been previously arrested for threatening a local Harley-Davidson store. If our laws had required that he be sent to a mental health professional at that time, might he have chosen a different path? Take a few hours to learn from a CBI agent who responds to our society's most unimaginable tragedies and ask him, "What could have been done differently to prevent this outcome?"

Continuing education credits available to all attendees.

Learning Objectives: Participants in this course will benefit from the following:

  • In-depth analysis of Platte Canyon High School shooting as the tragedy unfolded and through the ensuing investigation
  • Discussion of the school's safety precautions that succeeded and failed
  • Discussion of the perpetrator's mental health and clues that we can now see as warning signs
  • Discussion of the perpetrator's past criminal activities that we can now see as warning signs
  • Access to an agent who continues to discuss this case in the hopes of better understanding the perpetrator's motives

Serial Murder: A Cold Case Review

Wednesday, January 25, 2017 - 5pm - 9pm

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Check out the photos from the event here!

$99 - 4 CE

Course Title: Cold Case: Holly Marie Andrews

Course Description: On December 26, 1976, Holly Marie Andrews went missing after leaving her mother's home to visit friends. The next day, her body was found in the mountains by two cross country skiers. The case was thoroughly investigated but no charges were filed. Then in 1983, a man named Henry Lee Lucas confessed to Andrews' homicide in addition to the murders of approximately 200 more people. Unfortunately, in 1998, his confessions were shown to be false and investigators understood that Andrews' murderer was still at-large. Ten years later, a DNA "hit" led to a new suspect and the case was reopened, ultimately leading to the real murderer. Join Chris Schaefer, lead investigator on the case in 2008 and currently an Agent in Charge with the Colorado Bureau of Investigation, as he walks you through the facts of the case, including videos from Lucas' "confessions" as well as Schaefer's interviews with the real killer, Ricky Lee Harnish. Over two days in a Clear Creek County jail, Schaefer developed a relationship with Harnish and secured his confession. Learn how he did it and discover why Lucas' false confession was taken so seriously. Schaefer analyzes the videos to show which interview techniques work and which ones don't. For example, what types of questions enabled Lucas to develop a believable false confession? Also, Schaefer discusses the research challenges of tackling a long-cold murder case and shares why DNA is an important piece of the crime-fighting puzzle but not the be-all-end-all that television series make it out to be. Ultimately, Schaefer says that the two days securing Harnish's confession were the most rewarding of his career but also knows that the Andrews family will never have closure. How does a case like this affect the people involved, including family members and investigators? Come away with a better understanding of the skills, technologies, tenacity and sometimes luck that contribute to a successful cold case investigation.

Continuing education credits available to all attendees.

Learning Objectives: Participants in this course will benefit from the following:

  • Background into a murder case that had gone unsolved for 29 years
  • Analysis of two interviews that secured murder confessions – one of them false – to compare techniques that work with those that don't
  • Insights into the challenges of tackling a cold murder case and tactics that lead to successful results
  • Access to an agent personally involved in an interview that secured a confession, sharing proper forensic interview techniques


Join us for any mixture of the workshops or sign up for all 4 for a bundle price of $425! (a savings of over $45)

All Forensic Field Guide Courses will be held at the University of Denver Campus:

Morgridge College of Education - Ruffatto Hall Commons (1999 E. Evans Avenue, Denver CO 80208) 

For questions and information contact the Center for Professional Development at  or 303-871-4161