Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Murder Cop: A Profile of Vernon J. Geberth

Homicide Central

When major homicide cases turn up in the media, one of the media's primary contacts is Vernon J. Geberth, M.S. M.P.A.  He can speak knowledgeably about cases like BTK, Jeffrey Dahmer, David Parker Ray, Jack Own Spillman III and John Robinson because he's often been invited into the case by the investigating detectives.  They've been to his course, used his protocol, and trusted his judgment.  Thus, he's become a hub for homicide consulting.

Vernon Geberth speaking at a seminar
Vernon Geberth speaking at a seminar

Geberth is a retired lieutenant-commander of the New York City Police Department, who was the commanding officer of the Bronx Homicide Task Force, which handled more than four hundred murder investigations every year.  The recipient of over sixty awards for bravery and exceptional work during twenty-three years of service, he has personally investigated, supervised, assessed, researched and consulted on over eight thousand homicides. 

Practical Homicide Investigation® logo
Practical Homicide Investigation® logo

He has master's degrees in both psychology and professional studies, is a graduate of the FBI's National Academy, and over the past twenty-five years has offered a comprehensive flagship course in Practical Homicide Investigation® and major law enforcement departments around the country, including the F.B.I., have collectively sent over fifty thousand officers and agents to attend. 

Practical Homicide Investigation by Vernon Geberth
Practical Homicide Investigation by Vernon Geberth

Geberth is the author of what has been referred to as the "Bible of Homicide," Practical Homicide Investigation: Tactics, Procedures and Forensic Techniques and The Practical Homicide Investigation Checklist and Field Guide, and has been series editor since 1982 for more than forty other textbooks for The Practical Aspects of Criminal and Forensic Investigations.   Recently, he added a seminar in sex-related homicides, based on his latest textbook, Sex-Related Homicide and Death Investigation: Practical and Clinical Perspectives, CRC Press, 2003. He has devoted his life to the study of murder and was the first law enforcement professional to devise standard guidelines and protocols for proficient death inquiries.  Currently he is president of P.H.I. Investigative Consultants, Inc., a New York-based corporation that provides state-of-the-art instruction and consultation regarding homicide investigations to police officers. 

Geberth with the books that he has written
Geberth with the books that he has written

He's fond of saying, "We work for God," and his agenda includes an oath to the effect that the investigation of homicide is a "profound duty" that demands that anyone who undertakes it to "develop an understanding of the dynamics and principles" of proceeding in a professional manner.   In the pursuit of justice and truth, they should gain both knowledge and experience, along with flexibility and common sense.

One first principle is "Each case is a form of continuing education."

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