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Retired NYC detective presents seminar to police


By KEATON T. DEPRIEST Associate Editor   April 6, 2011

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Cmdr. Vernon Geberth

Chief John Askey

Photos by Jim Smerecak


For three days last week, Amherst police as well as members of other local law enforcement agencies attended a seminar that detailed information on efficiently conducting homicide investigations.

The seminar was sponsored by the Amherst Police Foundation, which defrayed the cost of the program.


”We are very thankful for the foundation’s support,” Police Chief John Askey said. “This was a huge opportunity for local law enforcement to learn how to better handle a homicide investigation. The citizens of this town deserve officers with the best training and resources.”


Since retiring from the Bronx Homicide Task Force, Geberth has also acted as a media consultant and has discussed dozens of high-profile homicide cases with the media.

He is currently the president of PHI Investigative Consultants Inc., which is headquartered in Garnerville, near New York City.


Geberth said he conducts the seminars in cities across the country because he has a passion for investigations and is a stickler for professionalism.


“As we keep pushing forward with forensics and how a crime scene is handled, we also need to better understand crime scene reconstruction,” he said.  Geberth said he uses real homicide cases in his presentations.


“I process all the information and gather it together,” he said. “Then I bring it to the classroom, and the detectives in attendance benefit without going to the crime scene.”


Geberth said he begins the seminars by teaching the basics of homicide investigations, beginning with what should occur during a detective’s initial response to the scene.

“Everything is primary in this business,” he said. “We have to know where to begin.”


Included in the cases detailed by Geberth was processing sex related crimes as well as informing detectives of schemes offenders are using to attempt to eliminate DNA evidence.


“The benefit is the people that haven’t seen all of this are now exposed to it,” he said. “Detectives also learn how to easier differentiate between suicide cases and murder cases, which can sometimes seem similar.”


Askey said all of the materials Geberth provides during the seminar are given to each detective, which allows them to recall the information if needed during an investigation.


“The officers now have these cases as part of their own library,” he said. “This is tremendous for our agencies.”


He said the seminar was a great resource and provides additional training to officers that might not otherwise have been possible due to budgetary constraints.


“With money being extremely tight, we are fortunate to have the support of the Police Foundation,” he said.


Geberth said that in concluding each seminar, he lets the attendees know that in every case, detectives “work for God.”


“This phrase I let everyone know speaks to the awesome responsibilities we have,” he said.


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