Developing Subject Matter Expertise for Criminal Investigations

Pitfalls, Strategies, and What to Expect from the Experts

Thursday, September 24, 2020 – 7:00 am – 3:30 pm (Pacific Time)

This course is reserved for North American Law Enforcement Officers ONLY.

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This eight-hour course will provide a comprehensive opportunity for participating Law Enforcement Officers to further their education through current police Subject Matter Experts in the fields of Gangs, Weapons, Drugs, Use of Force, and Media relations. It will outline what information should be gathered regarding gangs, weapons, or use-of-force investigations. The learning will be enhanced by input from a sitting Provincial Court Judge and experienced Journalists. 

After each session has been delivered, there will be a 10-minute opportunity for questions from the participants.

In law enforcement, we work in a grey area but are judged in black and white. Those who judge us during post-incident review have the luxury of using hindsight, video, audio, and witness statements to determine if our actions were necessary, within policy, and legal. All we have available to us when making split second life and death decisions is what is already pre-programmed into our brains through second nature training and repetitive motion. If the information isn’t already in the brain when we need it, we won’t be able to use it. Those who sit in judgement of our actions are not experiencing the phenomenon of excited delirium, adrenaline and cortisol dumps, tunnel vision, and auditory shutdown. But we know our actions will be scrutinized when we take the job, so it is our responsibility to make sure we are mentally prepared to face life and death situations, as well as the intense scrutiny that will surely follow. It is the job of society to police the police, and it is our job to make sure our actions withstand scrutiny at the civil and criminal levels.

Attendees to this session will get an understanding of how they can mentally prepare themselves, their partners, and their families for some of the traumatic incidents and split-second decision making law enforcement officers are faced with. Mental preparedness must start on day one of the law enforcement career and continue long into the healthy and happy retirement years. Some folks say they are glad they are not in law enforcement during these troubled times. They are wrong. There has never been a better time to be in law enforcement, because it is up to us to ensure we continue to move forward through training and professionalism in order to make the most noble profession in society even better.

This 8-hour training session is organized by Safer Schools Together (, the charitable organization Odd Squad Productions (, and the not for profit Law Enforcement Training Association (

General Learning Goals

The learners enhance their current understandings of the roles of a court recognized Subject Matter Expert.

At the end of this course all learners will:

  • understand the introductory steps required to become a court-recognized Subject Matter Expert
  • recognize the roles of the court-recognized Subject Matter Expert
  • recognize/understand the necessary intelligence gathering is required to conduct an effective gang, weapon, or use-of-force investigation is required to  conduct an effective gang, weapon, or use-of-force investigation
  • develop an awareness of the role of the media in relation to law enforcement
  • developing the keys to a survival mindset
  • learning to avoid the pitfalls in criminal investigations

Class level: All Law Enforcement Officers

Method of Instruction: Online using ZOOM and the interactive platform, Wooclap 


0700-0715 Vancouver Police Department – Sgt. Jennifer Keyes – Introductions

0715-0815 Reno Police Department – Sgt. (Ret.) Jeff Kaye – MINDSET, The Key to Survival

0815-0915 Vancouver Police Department – Sgt. Brad Fawcett –  Weapons

0915-1015 Vancouver Police Department / British Columbia Transit Police Cst. (Ret.) Doug Spencer – Gangs

1015-1115 Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit of British Columbia – S/Sgt. Derrick Sheppard – Drugs

1115-1215  Vancouver Police Department – Sgt. (Ret.) Joel Johnston – Use of Force  

1215-1235  Lunch Break

1235-1315 Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit of British Columbia Crime Analyst-Jill Paterson – How to effectively gather intelligence to start or further an investigation on Gangs, Drugs, Weapons, or Use of Force.

1315-1355 Provincial Court Judge – Reginald Harris – A View from the Bench

1355-1440 Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit of British Columbia Staff Sergeant  Lindsey Houghton – Media Relations

1440-1525  Journalist John Daly (CKNW radio and Global News) and Allison Hurst (CTV News) Media professionals – How to work with the media to get the real story out

1525 The end – questions


Speakers Biographies

Sgt. (Ret.) Jeff Kaye, Reno Police Department

Presentation Title: “MINDSET, The Key to Survival”

Jeff Kaye is a veteran law enforcement professional who served twenty-five years and retired at the rank of Detective Sergeant from the Reno, Nevada Police Department. He served fifteen years in undercover and tactical response assignments, including five years supervising a multi-jurisdictional narcotics task force. Jeff was assigned to a two-year deep undercover assignment that required taking on a new identity and networking with the criminal element. It was here that he learned the importance of mindset in law enforcement, because when you’re under, you’re alone.

Since his retirement from law enforcement in 2006, Jeff has been involved in school safety, school policing, and emergency management. He is the author of six books, including the soon to be released true crime novel about a “cop turned serial killer” who was apprehended in Reno, Nevada. Jeff is considered a Subject Matter Expert in law enforcement training areas related to tactical response, stress, and liability issues. He is currently the President of the consulting company School Safety Operations Inc. and D4 Survival Training. He currently lives with his wife and family in North County San Diego, enjoying what he affectionately refers to as  the “Post-Cop Afterlife” we work our careers to achieve.

Sgt. Brad Fawcett, VPD

Presentation Title: Weapons

Sgt. Fawcett is currently working as the Sgt. i/c of Research for the VPD Force Options Training Unit. 

He is a court-recognized use-of-force and non-firearms prohibited weapons expert. He has provided opinion evidence in Coroners Inquests, civil trials, criminal trials up to an including the Supreme Court of British Columbia, labour relations hearings, and a commission of inquiry.

Sgt. Fawcett has an extensive resume related to use of force. Some of the skills he can provide are well suited to the FOTU dedicated research project. He has a familiar/working relationship with Police Services Division, the Office of the Police Complaint Commissioner (OPCC), and the Independent Investigation Office of BC (IIO BC). He has a working relationship with RCMP and has developed manuals and courses from conception through provincial approval. He has been a sessional instructor at a post-secondary institution where has instructed Ethics for a Law Enforcement Environment and was the Canadian director of the International Association of Ethics Trainers (IAET) for ten years.

Sgt. Fawcett is familiar with requirements for program to be “court defensible” and works closely with academia in validating training and course development. 

Cst. (Ret.) Doug Spencer, VPD and Transit Police

Presentation Title: Gangs

Doug Spencer has been qualified as a gang expert by courts in British Columbia, Alberta and Ontario.  Such courts include the British Columbia Provincial Court (for example in R. v. Y.T.H., 2001 BCPC 10) and the British Columbia Supreme Court (for example in R. v. Dhak, 2003 BCSC 595).

As a gang expert, Doug Spencer is proficient in gang activity and culture in the Lower Mainland.  Doug Spencer’s expertise was achieved over his 15 year tenure with the Gang Crime and Youth Crime Units at the Vancouver Police Department. During that that time period, Doug Spencer was also twice-seconded as an investigator to the Integrated Gang Task Force.

For a 15 year period, Doug Spencer conducted numerous checks of gang members, monitored thousands of gang members and associates on police records management systems, and handled dozens of confidential gang informants.  Doug Spencer has a comprehensive understanding of the history and evolution of gang crime groups, their recruitment methods and membership, and their hierarchy within the gang crime world. 

S/Sgt. Darin Sheppard, RCMP

Presentation Title: Drugs

Staff Sergeant Darin Sheppard is in his 24th year with the RCMP and is currently the Non-commissioned Officer in Charge of the Outlaw Motorcycle Gang Unit at the Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit in British Columbia.  S/Sgt. Sheppard has spent the majority of his service in the areas of Drugs and Organized Crime.  S/Sgt. Sheppard is a court recognized expert in a variety of drugs and has been qualified at both the Provincial Court and Supreme Court levels in British Columbia and Alberta.  S/Sgt. Sheppard has been an undercover operator for 20 years and has been a cover person for 15 years, covering on both undercover and police agent lead files.   S/Sgt. Sheppard instructs provincially, nationally and internationally on a variety of subjects, but primarily undercover operations, and drug investigations.

Sgt. (Ret.) Joel Johnston, VPD

Presentation Title: Use of Force  

Joel is a retired 28-year veteran of the Vancouver Police Department (CANADA) with a background in Patrol, Foot Patrol, Crowd Control and Traffic Enforcement. He spent 20 years specializing in Force-related training & program development, and Emergency Response (ERT).  He served 9 years as Use of Force Coordinator, 5 years as operational Squad Leader of one of four fulltime ERT (SWAT) squads and 2 years as the Training Coordinator for ERT.  He was seconded to the British Columbia Ministry of Public Safety & Solicitor General as Provincial Use of Force and Municipal Emergency Response Teams (SWAT) Coordinator from 2005 – 2011. Joel began presenting at ASLET in 1993, 95, 97, 2001 and at ILEETA in 2012 and 2017. He has served on multiple National Institute of Justice (NIJ) and Canadian Police Research Center (CPRC) Working Groups – including Tactical Operations, Less Lethal Weapons, Vascular Neck Restraint, Conducted Energy Weapons and Excited Delirium Syndrome. He is the Principal of Joel Johnston Consulting Inc® in Vancouver, BC, he is a private training coach, consultant and Use of Force Subject Matter Expert. He has been retained in 74 use of force cases and given testimony across Canada to all levels of Courts, Hearings, Inquests and Inquiries. Joel obtained a degree in Economics from Simon Fraser University where he was a 4-year varsity athlete and was drafted by the Saskatchewan Roughriders. He has a background in business and banking.

Jill Paterson, Crime Analyst, CFSEU

Presentation Title: How to gather intelligence to start or further an investigation on Gangs, Drugs or Use of Force

Jill Paterson is currently a Strategic Intelligence Analyst with the Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit of British Columbia (CFSEU-BC) working primarily on Gangs and Organized Crime and the Provincial Tactical Enforcement Priorities (PTEP) targeting process.

Prior to this position Jill was a Special Constable with the Vancouver Police Department, Criminal Intelligence Unit, Organized Crime Section.  In her position at the VPD Jill conducted strategic analysis for the department, tactical analysis for major investigations and intelligence probes related to Organized Crime in British Columbia. Jill began her Law Enforcement career with Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) in the Pacific Region, the majority of those years as an Intelligence Analyst in the Intelligence & Contraband Division.  Her duties there included Strategic, Tactical and Operational analysis.

Jill was the president of the Western chapter of the International Association of Law Enforcement Intelligence Analysts (IALEIA) for ten years and has been the recipient of the Award of Excellence in Analytic Products by Canada’s National Intelligence agency the Criminal Intelligence Services of Canada (CISC).  Jill taught the Law Enforcement Intelligence Unit (LEIU) and IALEIA developed Foundations of Intelligence Analysis (FIAT) course across Canada and the United States for several years.

Judge Reginald Harris, British Colombia Provincial Court Judge

Presentation Title: A View from the Bench

(coming soon…)

John L. Daly, CKNW Reporter, Global News Reporter

Presentation Title: How to work with the media to get the real story out

40 years in print, radio, and TV news as a reporter, assignment editor, & newscast producer, and talk show host. Predominantly TV News reporting.

General assignment specializing in crime & investigations of scams, cover-ups, government & agency incompetence, official malfeasance.

Man-made & natural disasters including air crashes, train crashes, forest fires, landslides, floods, earthquakes.

Live hits (sat, micro, dejero), investigative stories & series.

Reported Royal Commissions: Taser Death, In-Custody deaths, serial murders, money laundering.

As well as Supreme, Appeal, County & Provincial, Family, Federal Court cases, Security Commission hearings, inquests, prison riots, jail & prison escapes & break-outs, arsons, kidnappings, mysterious disappearances adults & children, bail hearings, commercial frauds, investment scams, phoney doctors, dentists, etc.

Uncovered police corruption, drunk judges, etc.

Familiar with news scripting, formats, software, production, equipment, lighting, sets, studio & remote broadcasting.

Retired from daily TV News, currently doing a weekly talk show for Global News/CKNW Radio.

Member of IRE: Investigative Reporters & Editors.

Some background:

Allison Hurst CTV Journalist

Presentation Title: How to work with the media to get the real story out

Allison Hurst joined CTV Vancouver in February 2013 on the assignment desk.

Instantly captivated by news, she went to BCIT the following September to complete the broadcast journalism program. During those two years Allison continued to freelance at CTV Vancouver, reported for CKNW and took a three-month internship in Belgium reporting and writing for a national TV show.

After she graduated in May 2015, Allison moved to Kitchener for a full time job at CTV Kitchener as a video journalist. She took a month leave of absence in August 2016, to go to Rio and report from the Olympic Games. Allison left Kitchener in May 2017 and came back to CTV Vancouver as a writer and reporter.

Allison has a degree from the University of British Columbia in political science and international relations. While she considers herself a Vancouverite, Allison has lived on both coasts and central Canada and is bilingual. In her spare time, Allison can be found hiking or skiing in the mountains, running along the sea wall and spending time with family and friends.

Sgt. Jennifer Keyes, VPD


Jennifer Keyes is a lawyer who worked as a prosecutor for the Department of Justice (now Public Prosecution Service of Canada) before joining the Vancouver Police Department in 1999. She is currently the Sergeant in charge of the Research and Policy Unit of the Planning, Research & Audit Section.

She has contributed to the welfare of the police membership through a decade of service as a Vancouver Police Union Director and received the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal for her work.  As the Liaison to the VPD’s dispatch service provider, Ecomm-911, she was the Project Manager for a 7 year large scale transition to the Province’s new technology platform for emergency radio communications.

As the Legal Trainer for the VPD, she created and delivered the legal training for the inaugural Police Custodial Guards program and the Sergeants’ Selection Process Exam, receiving a Chief Constable’s Unit Citation for her efforts. She has also taught criminal law for 8 years in the Law Enforcement Studies Diploma Program at the Justice Institute of British Columbia

S/Sgt Lindsey Houghton, CFSEU-BC

Presentation Title: Media Relations

A former member of the Vancouver Police Department and the Department’s spokesperson, Staff Sergeant Lindsey Houghton is now the Organized Crime Agency of BC (OCABC) Advisory NCO working within the provincial integrated gang unit, the Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit of British Columbia.

The recipient of several provincial, community and policing awards, Staff Sergeant Houghton has continually sought new and innovative ways to promote positive policing initiatives, crime prevention strategies, and engage the public. This includes being the creator and architect of the CFSEU-BC’s End Gang Life ( gang prevention, education, and awareness initiative.

His work and advocacy has resulted in End Gang Life now becoming a national call-to-action against gangs and gang violence and, in British Columbia, the creation of B.C.’s first Gang Exiting and Intervention Program within the CFSEU-BC.

Staff Sergeant Houghton oversees the CFSEU-BC’s Community & Public Affairs and Gang Exiting & Intervention teams.