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The Florida Sheriffs Cold Case Advisory Commission

June 22, 2021

By David Brand, FSA

CCAC meeting: The Commissioners

The Florida Sheriffs Association Cold Case Advisory Commission was developed in 2015 as an entity to assist our sheriffs with investigating cold homicide and missing persons cases.

The Commission serves as an FSA Committee under the direct leadership of Sheriff Mike Prendergast, Chair; Sheriff Paul Blackman, Vice-Chair; and Sheriff Bob Johnson, Vice-Chair.

The Commission itself consists of 25 members along with numerous resource and subject matter experts. The members include a variety of criminal justice disciplines including a Medical Examiner, a State Attorney, representatives from the Florida Attorney General’s Office, Serology and DNA scientists, a Polygraphist, a Florida Department of Corrections Administrator, a Crime Scene Technician, a Forensic Anthropologist, and several highly experienced homicide investigators.

The Commission meets twice a year or upon the direction of the Chair. The meetings include a training day for local law enforcement professionals where various timely topics involving cold homicide investigation are presented. The Commission meetings involve training for the Commissioners, business discussions, and case officers presenting cold cases for review by the members. After cases are presented, the members will offer advice and guidance for continuing the investigation.

Upon review for viability, funding may be provided to the presenting sheriffs’ office personnel to pay for DNA exams that are beyond the capability of state law enforcement labs. The Commission has funded 10 cases that are currently under investigation.

The Commission also has the capability of deploying an investigating team, usually comprised of two investigators and an attorney, to travel on-site to assist a sheriff with a complex investigation. The team reviews the case file and evidence and reports directly to the requesting sheriff.

The Commission met June 16th and 17th in Lecanto, Florida for a training day and Commission meeting. 37 law enforcement professionals attended the training. The Commission received training, discussed current issues, and heard two case officers give presentations on cold homicide cases.

Training participants photo: Participants attending the June 16th training day.