Forensic Science Then and Now: an Interview with Jay Jarvis

Jarvis headshot


Jay Jarvis is a native of Long Island, New York. While a student in high school, his chemistry class went on a tour of the New York City Police Crime Lab. It was on that trip that Jay decided that his interest in chemistry could be best used in the field of forensic science. After his family relocated to Georgia, Jay earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry from Georgia College. To better prepare himself for a career in forensic science, Jay applied for and was accepted into the graduate program in Forensic Chemistry at the University of Pittsburgh and received his Master of Science degree in 1979. Immediately after graduate school, he was hired at the Georgia State Crime Laboratory in Atlanta.

During his 32-plus year career, Jay either performed casework in or was a supervisor for most of the forensic disciplines. Between 1982 and 1997, he wore a multitude of hats, performing casework in firearms and tool marks, hair, fiber and glass comparisons, footwear and tire tread examinations, fire debris and explosives analysis, latent fingerprint processing, marijuana identification, presumptive blood testing and crime scene analysis for a large area of central Georgia. He has testified as an expert in Federal Court and the courts of Georgia and several other states over 750 times.

Jay also has extensive experience in crime laboratory accreditation, having served as an accreditation assessor and as a member of the Board of Directors of the American Society of Crime Laboratory Directors Laboratory Accreditation Board (ASCLD/LAB), including one year as the Board Chair. He has been invited to speak at seminars and training sessions on topics related to forensic science. Jay currently lives in northwest Georgia just outside the metropolitan Atlanta area, which allows him easy access to most destinations via Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport.



test fire rifle Kaleidoscope 2_1 jay witness Jay on range

Georgia’s Crime Doctor


National Commission on Forensic Science Recommendations on Accreditation

“Real-Life Not Like CSI on Television,” Macon Telegraph article on Jay Jarvis

“Alumnus carries microscope into career,” Georgia College Alumnus article on Jay Jarvis

Arma Forensics


Personal Violence: Sex and Domestic Crimes: An Interview with Former Federal Prosecutor and Author Allison Leotta

AllisonLeotta Web


For twelve years, Allison Leotta was a federal prosecutor in Washington, D.C., where she specialized in sex crimes, domestic violence, and crimes against children. Drawing on this experience, she now writes legal thrillers, for which she has been dubbed  “the female John Grisham.” Her goal is for John Grisham to be dubbed “the male Allison Leotta.”

After publishing her debut, LAW OF ATTRACTION, Simon & Schuster asked Allison to continue writing about her fictional sex-crimes prosecutor, Anna Curtis.  A series was born! There are now four books in the Anna Curtis series, and a fifth is in the works.

LAW OF ATTRACTION earned a starred review in Library Journal, which said, “In this riveting debut, Leotta joins the big league with pros like Linda Fairstein and Lisa Scottoline.” Allison’s second novel, DISCRETION, was named one of the Top Ten Books of 2012 by Strand Magazine and Best Suspense Novel of 2012 by Romance Reviews Today. Her third novel, SPEAK OF THE DEVIL, was named a Best Book of 2013 by Suspense Magazine.  The fourth book in the Anna Curtis series, A GOOD KILLING, will be released this May.

USA Today says Allison’s writing is “as real as it gets.”

Allison is also a contributor to the Huffington Post, where she reality-checks TV crime dramas like Law & Order: SVU. Her own blog, The Prime-Time Crime Review, was named one of the best legal blogs in America by the American Bar Association. Allison has provided legal commentary for outlets such as CNN, MSNBC, PBS, and Reuters TV.  She serves on the Board of Directors of the Mystery Writers of America.

A graduate of Michigan State University and Harvard Law School, Allison lives outside of Washington, D.C., with her husband, Michael Leotta, and their two sons.




Allison’s Website:

Allison’s Blog:

Allison on Facebook:

Allison on Twitter:

Huffington Post:

Things That Go Boom in the Night: An Interview with Weapons and Explosives Expert and Author John Gilstrap


John GIlstrap


John Gilstrap is the New York Times bestselling author of Friendly Fire, Nick of Time, Against All Enemies, End Game, Soft Targets, High Treason, Damage Control, Threat WarningHostage Zero, No Mercy, Nathan’s Run, At All Costs, Even Steven, Scott Free and Six Minutes to Freedom.  Four of his books have been purchased or optioned for the Big Screen.  In addition, John has written four screenplays for Hollywood, adapting the works of Nelson DeMille, Norman McLean and Thomas Harris.  He will co-produce the film adaptation of his book, Six Minutes to Freedom, which should begin filming in the spring of 2016 for a 2017 release.

A frequent speaker at literary events, John also teaches seminars on suspense writing techniques at a wide variety of venues, from local libraries to The Smithsonian Institution.  Outside of his writing life, John is a renowned safety expert with extensive knowledge of explosives, weapons systems, hazardous materials, and fire behavior.  John lives in Fairfax, VA.

Friendly Fire

NICK OF TIME MM (print) (1)


John’s Website:

Weapons Resource: (a great 40,000-foot resource for writers who write about weapons)

Weapons Used in Movies: (This site allows you to pull up a movie title and see all of the weapons used.)

Building Better Law Enforcement: An Interview with Chief Scott LaChasse, Burbank Police Department

Scott LaChasse




Scott LaChasse has 36 years of experience in law enforcement and security. He joined the Burbank Police Department as Interim Chief in January, 2010 and was named permanent Chief in April, 2013.  Chief LaChasse worked for the Los Angeles Police Department from 1970-2002, most recently holding the position of Deputy Chief. In this capacity, he managed almost 1,600 personnel in South Los Angeles.


During his tenure at the LAPD, he held a variety of high-profile positions including Commanding Officer for the Criminal Intelligence, Narcotics, and Uniformed Services Groups. He also served as Assistant Commanding Officer of Operations for the Valley Bureau where he administered the activities of 1,800 personnel in the San Fernando Valley.

His resume includes work as the Vice President of Security and Emergency Services for Paramount Pictures and Corporate Manager for Regulatory Compliance at Southern California Edison.

Chief LaChasse is a member of several organizations including the International Association of Chiefs of Police, FBI National Academy Associates, California Peace Officers Association, William H. Parker Los Angeles Police Foundation, Chief Special Agents Association, California Police Chiefs Association, Challengers Boys and Girls Club Board of Directors, Peace Officers Association of Los Angeles County Executive Board, and Los Angeles Police Museum Board of Directors. He also provides instruction nationally and internationally to public officials and law enforcement officers on the command of critical incidents.

Chief LaChasse earned his Bachelor’s degree from California State University, Los Angeles, and his Master’s in Public Administration from The University of Southern California. A longtime supporter of forensic science in Los Angeles County, he is on the Advisory Board of the California Forensic Science Institute at CSULA and is honored in the CSFI Hall of Fame for his work on behalf of forensic science research, training, and education.



Burbank Police Department
City of Burbank
International Association of Chiefs of Police
California Police Chiefs Association
California Forensic Science Institute

Fact Sheet: Justice Department Counter-Terrorism Efforts Since 9/11


Research, Education, and the Future of Forensic Science: an Interview with Dr. Katherine A. Roberts, Director of the CSULA Graduate Program in Criminalistics


Katherine Roberts


D.P. Lyle, M.D. and Jan Burke talk to Dr. Katherine Roberts of CSULA about current research in forensic science. She tells us what to look for in forensic science educational programs and what students should do to prepare for studying and working in this field. She’ll also talk to us about what new developments are on the horizon for forensic science.




Dr. Roberts is the Director of the California State University, Los Angeles Graduate Program in Criminalistics. She has served as the Director of the Master of Science degree program there since 2002,and played a leading role in the university’s FEPAC accreditation. Her research interests cover a wide array of forensic disciplines, but focus primarily of trace evidence analysis, sexual assault evidence, and mitochondrial DNA analysis. Dr. Roberts was the PI of a National Institute of Justice-funded study to investigate the use of samplematrix™ to stabilize crime scene biological samples for optimized analysis and room temperature storage from 2009-2011. She is the PI for a National Science Foundation grant that was awarded to CSULA in 2015 to establish the Center for Interdisciplinary Forensic Science Research as a research site within the NSF Industry-University Cooperative Research Center (I/UCRC) program. The Center will enhance research training and education in multiple forensic science disciplines, including Forensic Microscopy, Trace Evidence Analysis, Forensic Science Research Methods, Forensic Chemistry, and Applications of Forensic Science.

Dr. Roberts is currently collaborating with a consortium of European universities to develop a portable, inexpensive, and rapid method of dating latent fingerprints. Her publications are on topics related to trace evidence analysis, forensic examination of sexual assault evidence, and mitochondrial DNA analysis.

She was an elected member of the Technical Working Group for Education and Training in Forensic Science (TWGED) that was convened by the National Institute of Justice. The Forensic Science Education Programs Accreditation Commission (FEPAC) uses the report issued by TWGED in order to evaluate the academic standards of undergraduate and graduate forensic science programs.

Dr. Roberts is currently serving as the Interim Executive Director of the California Forensic Science Institute.



California Forensic Science Institute

CSULA School of Criminal Justice and Criminalistics

LA Times article, “Cal State L.A. graduate students hone crime scene expertise,”

Forensic Science Education Programs Accreditation Commission (FEPAC

Follow the Money: Catching Cheaters, Frauds and Con Artists — An Interview with Securities Fraud Investigator Richard B. York (Part II)

Richard York photograph


Jan Burke and D.P. Lyle, M.D. interview Richard B. York in Part II, talking about Ponzi schemes, Pyramid schemes, and other financial crimes. Get an inside look at how these crimes are investigated — and as always, Richard York gives us some entertaining stories from the trenches of financial crimes investigation.



Richard B York began his career in Law Enforcement over forty years ago, when he became a police officer in Arkansas City, Kansas. He holds degrees in police science, criminal investigation and police administration, and received several certifications for financial crimes investigations.

From 1984-2011, he served in the Office of the Kansas Securities Commissioner in Wichita, Kansas, where he became the Director of Enforcement. This is the Kansas State agency overseeing registration and enforcement of investor related laws (The Kansas Uniform Securities Act).  He personally handled over 300 investigations and supervised over 1,000 investigations.  Most involved some form of fraud and overlap of other federal or state laws. Many investigations were coordinated with outside law enforcement agencies. His activities included training and supervising other investigators; working with federal, state, and local agencies; covert investigations investigations; training banking and law enforcement in S.A.R. — Suspicious Activity Reports — and government compliance; working with victims of financial crimes; case preparation and testimony in prosecutions of financial crimes.

Mr. York has been a professional musician from childhood, when he made frequent television appearances as a guitarist. He still participates in playing finger-style guitar at the Winfield Music Festival and elsewhere.


Click here to listen to Part I of our interview with Richard York      This link provides guidance to investors on securities brokers and securities transactions.   You can enter your broker’s name to determine if any disciplinary action has been taken.   This link is to the U.S. Securities and Exchange. Information on actions taken against violators; educational section for investors.   This link is to an association of State Securities Commissioner’s office.  Investor education and state actions, such as criminal charges and cease and desist orders are available.  It has a fraud education center and ability to check out registered brokers.

Every state will have a securities regulator, but sometimes that office is combined with various other state functions (eg: Secretary of State; Insurance Commissioner; Dept. of Commerce; Attorney General’s Office, etc.)

To find your own state securities commissioner’s office/website, just do a Google search:  

[your state’s name] + securities

That will take you to a link that will allow you to get to your own state securities commissioner’s office and they will have postings for actions taken on suspects/companies; fraud alerts and lots of educational material.