Multidisciplinary Think Tank

Cold Case Society

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use students at Western University as fresh eyes and emerging subject matter experts to analyze and synthesize data relating to unsolved cold cases from across North America. The Society is a multidisciplinary think tank where hand-picked students at both the undergraduate and graduate levels, and in some cases other faculty members, pool their resources and respective expertise under my tutelage to offer insight, analysis, consultation, and independent case review of historical homicides and cases of missing persons/unidentified remains, all while following a civilianized approximation of the Major Case Management Model and using what I call the Multidisciplinary Investigative Technique (MIT).

Matching Existing & Emerging Experts to Unsolved Crimes, and Vice Versa…

Using new and sometimes experimental methodologies previously unavailable, exploiting digital and emerging technologies, and tapping the vast intellectual resources of modern scholars and scientists at both Western and beyond, the findings of the Society’s research/investigation are then submitted to the law enforcement agency of jurisdiction as a written report complete with case summaries, annotated maps, technical drawings, revised lab reports, updated computer forensics and pathological/archaeological data, linguistic analyses of original statements, and recommendations for future research and investigation. The rationale for this methodology was recently published in The Canadian Journal of Media Studies in my article, “Media Forensics & Fragmentary Evidence: Locard’s Exchange Principle in the Era of New Media,” and all of our findings reflect cutting-edge, trans-disciplinary research drawn from over 100 peer reviewed journals and listservs. Naturally, some police departments appreciate the advice and third party insights we offer as the vanguards of a new and more transparent system, some don’t. Some respect and recognize the work done by the Society as a sovereign group of self-motivated intellectuals while some resent and remain cynical about the progress that my students make over a compressed timeline and without formal law enforcement training – and that’s exactly the point. The Society is not about trying to mimic the police, nor circumvent them; it’s about working with them and applying the blinded and impartial academic peer review process to what are obviously failed investigations that can benefit from the application of new technologies, critical interpretation and deduction, as well as the unbridled enthusiasm of youth.

Why It Matters, and Where You Fit In…

If nothing else, the publicity generated by the Society puts these cases back in the public eye, renews interest and gets people talking again, and at the same time reminds families and communities that these cases, and their victims, aren’t forgotten. As police budget cuts, combined with unyielding workloads and the systemic restructuring of law enforcement agencies have led to the disbandment of many cold case units, it is incumbent on the community and in particular the university community, whose chief objective is to further knowledge and cultivate innovative modes of scientific enquiry, to find answers and proffer informed hypotheses about what happened in these cases. The Society therefore epitomizes original research in the public interest and is not only about finding answers to questions of fact, but also closing ranks between the disciplines to remedy injustice.

Update:
We will be in need of some new researchers/investigators fulfilling various roles commensurate with experience to assist in one or more cold case initiatives commencing next fall. I am also screening new cases for review and am considering submissions. Interested and qualified volunteers who are full-time Western students in any discipline, either undergraduate or graduate, should contact me through this site. Law enforcement and/or other stakeholders, including bereaved families or historical descendants, wishing to submit cases for review should also contact me through this site using the form provided.

At the 35th Anniversary of the RCMP’s Canadian Police College in November, [Arntfield] spoke to an international audience about how to modernize and further professionalize policing for the 21st century, using the UWO Cold Case Society as an example.

From “The Badge and the Briefcase” (scroll to page 10)