Cold case investigation the doctor and the detective: bridging the gap between police and academics to solve cold cases

Publication Date04 May 2020
AuthorDavid Keatley,Susan Cormier
SubjectHealth & social care,Criminology & forensic psychology,Criminal psychology,Sociology,Sociology of crime & law,Deviant behaviour,Public policy & environmental management,Policing,Criminal justice
Guest editorial
David Keatley and Susan Cormier
Cold case investigation the doctor and the detective: bridging the gap between
police and academics to solve cold cases
This special issue of the Journal of Criminal Psychology that is presented here by Detective
Susan Cormier of the Rhode Island Cold Case Task Force and Pawtucket Police and
Dr David Keatley of Researchers in Behaviour Sequence Analysis and Cold Case Review@,
presents research from academics with specialist knowledge, training, and experience in
cold case police investigations. The title of the collection: Cold Case Investigation was kept
purposefully broad soas to attract input from a wider variety of experts in the field. The aim of
this special issue was not only to showcase more academic talent in an applied and
important area; but, to help bridge the gap between police working cold cases and
academics researching means of assisting in investigations. Across several publications,
various bridges betweenthe practical world of policing and the applied work of academics is
The research by Keatleyand Clarke, in the current special issue, provides aninsight into their
applied work with cold case taskforces around the world. Keatley and Clarke have typicalxly
published research in Behaviour Sequence Analysis (Keatley, 2018;Keatley and Clarke,
2020), which uses chains of behaviours and events across multiple crimes to show which
transitions occurabove the level of chance. However, oftenin cold case investigations, not all
of the behaviours or events are known. Therefore, the matrix forecasting method outlined
here provides a way of using the expertiseof investigators in cold case task forces to forecast
what might have happened (based on everything from intuition to experience to proposed
forensic findings). We can then integrate the forecasting method into a BSA model. This
combined approach also uses other methods, such as Behaviour Tracking (Keatley et al.,
Epskamp-Dudink and Winters also provide an insightful piece on the value of scene
reconstruction in cold cases in Netherlands thought the theory and methods apply
worldwide. The combination of practical experience with academic knowledge offers
scientific and intelligence-driven criminal investigations. This approach complements a
number of current developmentsin cold case review and investigations (Keatley and Clarke,
2020), and highlightsan important link between applied practitioners and academics.
In keeping with this combined approach of academics working within police departments,
Chapman and colleagues provide a review of the importance of forensic expertise within
police cold case reviews. Recent cases in WesternAustralia show the importance of having
experts on-hand, who are at the cutting-edge of research and innovation and can offer
advice and assistanceon which methods are best practice and suitable basedon the state of
the investigation.This approach is superbly echoed and extended by Bryanna Fox, an expert
in police investigations, and colleagues who outline their experiences in building bridges
between academics and cold case investigations. The collaborative efforts of academics
(including students) in cold cases is a “force multiplier” that is gaining momentum in a
number of initiatives, suchas “Cold Case Review @” a cold case investigative group based
at Murdoch University,led by Brendan Chapman and Dr David Keatley (authors in the current
special issue).
David Keatley is based at
the Researchers in
Behaviour Sequence
Analysis (ReBSA),
Nottingham, UK and School
of Law, Murdoch University,
Perth, Australia.
Susan Cormier is based at
the Pawtucket Police
Department, Pawtucket,
Rhode Island, USA.
DOI 10.1108/JCP-05-2020-052 VOL. 10 NO. 2 2020, pp. 45-46, ©Emerald Publishing Limited, ISSN 2009-3829 jJOURNAL OF CRIMINAL PSYCHOLOGY jPAGE 45

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