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Renowned investigator, author visits city

Local police officers from numerous agencies enjoy a funny video as homicide and forensic consultant and PHI Investigative Consultants, Inc President Vernon Geberth teaches a Practical Homicide Three-Day course at The Jasper County Sheriff’s Department


Local Police Sharpen Skills



By Amber Tomlinson

October 26, 2011



Rensselaer -   Local detectives are sharpening their skills as a renowned homicide and forensic consultant is instructing a three-day course at the Jasper County Sheriff's Department, starting Monday.


Jasper County Sheriff's Department Detective Robert Foerg invited retired lieutenant-commander of the New York Police Department and president of PHI Investigative Consultants, Inc. Vernon Geberth, who is known internationally for his expertise with investigating homicides, to teach a course to the detectives and police officers of the surrounding areas.

More than 40 police officers attended the course that is well-known among detectives and police agencies. Geberth has been teaching the course for more than 30 years and continually works to better it


"It was designed because we needed to get back to the basics but at the same time appreciate the advances of forensic science and keep the mission. The mission is of course — for the family," Geberth said. 

Typically he wouldn’t come to a rural area such as Jasper County to teach a course. 


“What they are getting here is an exposure to cases that they ordinarily would not get locally”, Geberth said.  “We are talking about response, errors, when there is s a mistake – what happens and how it is irreparable.  It is kind of re-orienting everybody to be on the same page.”


As part of the course, Geberth teaches from his book, “Practical Homicide Investigation.” along with many others contributed to the more than 1000 pages of instruction. Students were using the fourth edition of the book that Geberth said he is proud of.  He along with others contributed to the more than 1000 pages of instruction.


“It’s a lot of work. When I’m not in the classroom I’m researching, I’m teaching, I’m writing.  I have hundreds of articles both in law enforcement periodicals and clinical journals.  They (students) get the benefit of all of it,” he said.  “It’s one thing to hear a principal, it’s another to see it in action.”


Jasper County Sheriff’s Department Chief Deputy Pat Williamson said he took a course with Geberth as the instructor about 13 years ago.  Even 13 years ago, Geberth has stayed true to his saying of “We work for God.”  Williamson has a plaque that has yellowed over the years. He also has one of Geberth’s books.












Williamson said he will not forget learning that how the victim dies, one gunshot wound or brutally, could give an indication of who the prime suspects are.  Some of the graphic homicide scenes – that some people will go at lengths not only to murder someone but mutilate bodies, which all of that will tie into what kind of homicide it could be  -  is one thing that he showed us,” Williamson said.


Along with teaching homicide forensics, Geberth can’t say enough times to “Do it right the first time because you only get one chance.”


When Geberth was in service there were 400-500 homicides a year in the Bronx. “I learned a lot. Out here you make a mistake and then the world knows about it.” 


For more information about Geberth visit