“Family is everything, the most important thing I have ever done.” Todd A. Thorne is “dedicated to his family, faith and work” much like TV favorite Francis Reagan of Blue Bloods. 35 years ago, Todd chose the field of criminalistics for his career knowing “it would provide for the care of the family lifestyle I was looking to start.” He is currently working in both the law enforcement (City of Kenosha, Wisconsin Police Department-Forensic Unit) and private communities.

Todd is well versed in Bloodstain Pattern Analysis, Forensic Photography, Evidence Processing Techniques, Latent Fingerprint/Palm Examination, Shooting Incident Reconstruction, Expert Testimony as well as Crime Scene Reconstruction. He has a variety of published articles and photographs in these disciplines. Todd has been called to present expert testimony and consultation in numerous criminal and cold cases.

Certified as a State of Wisconsin, Illinois and Missouri Instructor, Todd has served on staff with the Nebraska School of Forensic Science. He is a sought after speaker and is an adjunct instructor in the area of Forensic Science for several colleges throughout the country. Todd said, “I find it a privilege to share knowledge with the people I meet as I travel.” Todd instructs throughout the country for The Lynn Peavey Company and has been called upon for technical consultation/research by various entities.

Todd served as the President, Immediate Past President, Region 3 Vice President and an Associate Editor of the International Association of Bloodstain Pattern Analyst. He also served the Wisconsin Association for Identification as President, Chairman of the Board and has chaired numerous committees and The Kenosha Professional Police Association as the secretary. In addition, he has served on Wisconsin’s Domestic Violence/Sexual Assault Evidence Training Team.

Todd currently serves The American Investigative Society of Cold Cases on the consulting committee and is a member of The International Crime Scene Investigators Association. Todd is also currently on staff with The Death Investigation Training Academy and has been a member of the Federal Government’s U.S. Department of Homeland Security, serving with the DMORT V Disaster Response Unit. He operates Todd A. Thorne & Associates Forensic Consultants and Photography Services, LLC, which has exposed him to both national and international cases.

Outside of work, you may find Todd enjoying time with his family. His hobbies include family activities, church activities, the outdoors and camping, horses and dogs and photography.

Todd is currently offering courses in Bloodstain Pattern Analysis, Forensic Photography, Evidence Technician School, Death Investigation, Crime Scene Processing Techniques, Expert Testimony and Shooting Incident Reconstruction. Contact him at www.toddathorneforensics.com for more information.


“Aspire to inspire…”

On February 22, 1985, 9-year-old Cherrie Mahan got off her school bus in Butler, PA, but never made it home. A blue van painted with a mural of a downhill skier on a mountainside was trailing the bus that day – Laura Pettler, just 11-years-old began looking and has never stopped looking for that van. “Then on May 1, 1992 when I was 17 years old, a 19-year-old high school acquaintance, Jennifer Diamond, was shot in the head by her boyfriend at a local gas station and I knew I wanted to do something in this field”, Laura recalled.

Laura holds a bachelor of science degree in pre-professional psychology from Geneva College, a master of science degree in criminal justice specializing in forensic psychology and forensic science from Youngstown State University, a doctor of philosophy degree in criminal justice specializing in criminal justice focused on crime scene staging in intimate partner homicide hot and cold cases from Capella University. She also spent 8-years in postgraduate experience, research and publication in bullet path and bloodstain pattern reconstruction in homicide cases, along with 9-years postdoctoral experience, research, and publication in crime scene staging dynamics in intimate partner homicide hot and cold cases.

Dr. Laura Pettler is also the founder and CEO of Laura Pettler & Associates Death Investigations, the #1 victim-centered scientific death investigation firm in the world. Within the scope of the firm, Laura founded and is the director of the LPA International Forensics Institute School of Forensic Criminology, a ground and online continuing education center built like a university with interlocking courses focused on unique topics not typically found in traditional continuing education catalogs for private investigators, detectives, attorneys, and students. “I enjoy sharing empirical and anecdotal information with others towards strengthening homicide investigations,” said Laura.

Laura is the author of the first book in the world on crime scene staging entitled, Crime Scene Staging Dynamics in Homicide Cases. Stemming from a 2008 homicide in Caroleen, NC, Laura and two colleagues initially developed Tubular Dowel Shooting Incident Reconstruction then Laura went on to invent the mot versatile and comprehensive The Kaleidoscope System Shooting and Bloodstain Reconstruction System that includes tubular dowels and bloodstain trajectory reconstruction equipment sold in more than 30 countries.

You may recognize Laura as the Forensic Criminologist on The Dr. Oz Show, her regular appearances on the Oxygen network, from ID, Starz, Reels, Spike, or her Web Television Series “Notorious: True Crime Stories with Laura Pettler.” Additionally, Laura is an accomplished Musician/Singer/Songwriter who retired from professional music in 2009 after recording four albums and three Christmas albums. Stay tuned because Laura is planning to record a new album titled in 2020.

In her spare time, Laura said “I enjoy mounted fox hunting with fox hounds and mounted archery on Friesian horses. I also participate in AKC Confirmation Dog Shows and my French Bulldog won the 2019 Best Female of the 143rd Westminster Kennel Club dog show.” She also enjoys various DIY projects on her farm.

Visit lpateam.com to view the schedules and register for an upcoming LPAIFI.com Wednesdays Training Series session.


“Teaching my peers is only half of the battle”

James Nally began his career in law enforcement as a Law Enforcement Security Policeman for the United States Air Force.

After the military, James began his career with the Orange County Sheriff’s Department and worked several assignments including Correctional Facilities, contracted field operations providing Law enforcement services to a variety of County Facilities and over the last 20 years James has been assigned to the Sheriff’s Property & Evidence Unit.

“Having an understanding of both sides of the lockers has given me an objective perspective,” James says. I realize cops duties in today’s world are complex and demanding, yet as a support function of our agency, the evidence unit is here to ensure that none of their hard work is lost on a procedural error. We also understand our neutral role as evidence officers can be even more daunting when it comes to the disposition and or the release of evidence items to the people we deem “lawful owners”.

James has excelled in creating new standards or “Most Effective Methods” for Evidence Management. His passion or obsession for P&E has earned him the nickname of “Property Sick”, as his peers kiddingly call him. This passion led him to training.

“For the longest time in my law enforcement career, I never saw a need for training because my team at the Sheriff’s Dept. was large and knowledgeable. However it wasn’t until I attended my first CAPE meeting, (California Association for Property & Evidence) and realized most LE agencies were not providing training, under-staffed and supervisors were unable to resolve the unique P&E issues. I truly believe training became my passion as a result of Evidence Units being completely under served and my desire to elevate this industry.”

James has been instrumental in a multitude of projects that have helped elevate the California Property & Evidence Industry. “Teaching my peers is only half of the battle”, James said in a recent interview. “The other half is providing awareness for our Law Enforcement Leaders to understand, appreciate and reward the work that we do.”

James now enjoys training his peers with his company Chain of Custody. James said “When the attendees come to class it is not the traditional lecture yet a workshop where everyone participates.” He works hard to find unique, relaxed training venues. He is passionate about answering questions and providing easier solutions to his peers’ processes during his workshops.

Outside of his work with the OC Sheriff’s Department and Chain of Custody, James and his wife keep extremely busy with their 14 year old son’s sports and hobbies. To relax, you might catch him paddle boarding at the Newport Back Bay, riding his beach cruiser at Bolsa Chica State Beach, helping his son mix down his music recordings or chilling in the pool with a cocktail.

Visit chainofcustodypro.com to view all upcoming classes and to schedule a class.


“Because the Truth Isn’t Gray.”

Following the data and the evidence provides the truth in black and white. With 24 years experience as a fingerprint/footwear examiner and 12 years as a crime scene investigator, John Black is sharing his knowledge through his company, Black & White Forensics, LLC in South Carolina. Their mission is simply “to focus on and provide quality forensic output.” They pride themselves on objectivity and a commitment to the physical evidence.

Black & White Forensics assists law enforcement, prosecutors, defense attorneys and others in understanding what the evidence means – or may not mean – in a given case. They can also conduct casework audits as a quality assurance mechanism so that both agency managers and bench examiners understand the quality of work being performed for their communities.

John says “I consider it a privilege to be able to share the knowledge and experience that I’ve been blessed to acquire.” He has trained groups such as law enforcement (patrol officers, investigators, managers), crime scene investigators, forensic scientists, military personnel, prosecuting attorneys, defense attorneys, forensic pathologists, coroners and high school and college students in more than 250 classes to date. The goal of the training courses is to ensure every attendee gains both a deeper understanding and working knowledge of the subject matter presented. John is happy to customize one of his course offerings, or it may be delivered in connection with Ron Smith and Associates, Inc.

When he’s not sharing his knowledge through Black & White Forensics, John says “I enjoy reading the Bible, spending time with my family, playing golf and trying to stay fit as I grow older.”

See all upcoming classes and course offerings at www.bwforensics.com.

Upcoming classes

Collaboration with Ron Smith & Associates:

  • June 10 – 14 – Understanding Exclusion & Sufficiency Decisions – Bowling Green, OH
  • Sept. 9 – 13 – Understanding Exclusion & Sufficiency Decisions – Irvine, CA
  • Sept. 16 – 20 – Fundamentals of Crime Scene Investigation – Arlington, TX

Visit www.ronsmithandassociates.com to sign up today!


“Make someone’s day memorable.”


19 years of service as a detective, sergeant, detective sergeant, and patrol sergeant has provided Dr. Michael McCutcheon the opportunity to learn and create numerous techniques to process crime scenes and master evidence collection. Mike has investigated almost every type of crime out there, and in turn, has created or modified techniques to investigate them. His passion for forensics led him to form the national training company, Forensic Education, LLC. It focuses on educating police officers in various areas of police work through hands-on training with the goal of motivating officers to be the best they can be.

Mike knows that after “years of being exposed to the challenges of police work officers can lose their motivation. I introduce officers to the newest techniques that they can use in the field. I remind them why they got into police work to begin with.” Forensic Education promises to create unique courses tailored to the needs of your agency. You won’t find the lame, worn out courses here. One student commented that one of Mike’s classes is “like a comedy show with amazing knowledge being shared.”

As a boy growing up in Rhode Island, Mike always wanted to be a police officer. He wanted to help people. Mike reflects, “Even after 19 years I am still motivated by the drive to help those that need help. I end my daily roll-call with ‘Make someone’s day memorable’ because I know that the police have the potential to change a person’s life.”

Dr. McCutcheon earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Criminal Justice from Anna Maria College and a Master of Arts Degree in Criminal Justice Administration from Western New England University. He earned his Doctorate in Education at Rivier University in Nashua, NH. His doctoral research explored the relationship between emotional intelligence and stress experienced by police officers. He uses the data discovered in his research to encourage police departments to provide emotional intelligence training to their officers in an effort to protect them from negative psychological damages resulting from exposure to prolonged stress.

He began his law enforcement career in 2000 and continues to serve the Londonderry, NH community in his role as a patrol sergeant. Mike and his wife are busy with three kids, ages 13-17. To unplug, you may see Mike hiking from sunrise to sunset. His current goal is to climb all the 4000+ foot mountains in New Hampshire.

Mike has been an educator at the collegiate level since 2007 and is currently a criminal justice professor at Southern New Hampshire University introducing new students to criminal justice. Introduction to Criminal Justice, American Policing, and Crime Scene Investigations are his most popular classes.

Dr. McCutcheon is the New England Division of the International Association for Identification’s (NEDIAI) Vice-president and was previously New Hampshire Board Member for several years. Mike is a crime scene instructor/consultant for the Lynn Peavey Company in Lenexa, KS and works with Dr. Laura Pettler & Associates in Monroe, NC solving cold cases and unsolved crimes.

Visit www.forensiceducation.net to view all upcoming classes, schedule a class and to view dozens of training videos.