GERARD F. DOWNES - Assistant Legal Attaché, FBI
Gerard F. Downes began his career in law enforcement in October 1976 as a Deputy Sheriff with the Wayne County Sheriff's Department, Honesdale, Pennsylvania. In 1978, Gerry joined the Honesdale Police Department, Honesdale, Pennsylvania and worked both patrol and criminal matters. In December 1980, Gerry joined the Pennsylvania State Police and was initially assigned to the Troop K Philadelphia Patrol Section. He later transferred to Troop R Honesdale and Troop M Stockertown where he worked both patrol and criminal investigations.
In 1984, Gerry joined the FBI and was initially assigned to a two Agent Resident Agency in Elizabeth City, North Carolina. Gerry was responsible for investigating all Federal crimes that occurred in the twelve Northeastern counties of North Carolina.
In 1988, Gerry was transferred to the FBI’s Boston, Massachusetts office and was assigned to a Bank Robbery and Violent Crimes Task Force. The task force was responsible for investigating bank robberies, kidnappings, extortions and all other violent crime cases that occurred in the Greater Boston area. In 1986, Gerry was given the added responsibility of being the FBI liaison officer to Boston’s Logan Airport. In that capacity, he was responsible for investigating all Federal violations involving domestic and international air travel.
In 1991, Gerry was transferred to the FBI’s Springfield, Massachusetts resident agency and assigned to handle all Federal violent crime matters that occurred in the four Western counties of Massachusetts. In 1994, Gerry was involved in the investigation of child serial killer Lewis Lent and he was the FBI case Agent responsible for administering the sixty investigator Lewis Lent Task Force for the FBI. Lent was ultimately convicted of those crimes and is currently serving a life sentence.
In 1995, Gerry was promoted to Supervisory Special Agent and transferred to the newly established Child Abduction Serial Killer Unit (CASKU) in Quantico, Virginia. He served in that position until June 2006, and during his tenure, the Unit name was changed to the National Center for the Analysis of Violent Crime (NCAVC), Behavioral Analysis Unit (BAU). The BAU provides immediate investigative and behavioral assistance to Local, State, Federal and International Law Enforcement Agencies in all types of violent crime cases, including child abductions and mysterious disappearance of children, serial murder, single homicides, serial rape, extortion, threats, kidnapping, product tampering, arson and bombing, weapons of mass destruction, public corruption, and domestic and international terrorism.
In July, 2006, Gerry assumed his current position as Assistant Legal Attaché in Vancouver, BC. In this position, Gerry is responsible for coordinating all FBI investigations with Canadian Authorities in the provinces of British Columbia, Alberta and the Yukon and Northwest Territories.
Gerry is a graduate of the University of Scranton, Scranton, Pennsylvania. He is an active member of the British Columbia Association of Chiefs of Police, the International Homicide Investigators Association, the International Criminal Investigative Analysis Fellowship Program, Williams Associates of the New York State Police and the Arizona, North Carolina and Virginia State Homicide Investigators Associations. He and his wife, Elaine, have been married for 32 years and they have one daughter.
Gerry will be presenting on the fascinating case study of a serial robber who was committing robberies in order to finance his budding country western singing career. However, in the process of committing the robberies he committed a homicide which then turned into the commission of a series of homicides. This file will cover the investigation and also look into the mind set of a serial killer/robber.
Project KITE: (Detectives from Winnipeg Police Department)
MITCH McCORMICK served 27 Years with the Winnipeg Police Service recently retiring to take up a position with the Manitoba Public Insurance, Special Investigation Unit.
During his career as police officer he was assigned to general patrol and plainclothes. His investigative experience includes Homicide, Robbery, Drugs and Property related Crime. He has worked on several wiretap projects in the Vice Division, Property Crime Division and before his retirement as the Sergeant in charge in the Major Crimes Unit in the Criminal Investigation Bureau.
He along with Sergeant Levasseur led the task force on Project “KITE” which leads to the arrest of Mr. Gerald BLANCHARD and other numerous persons across Canada. In 2007 he received the Canadian Banks “Law Enforcement Award" for his involvement in Project Kite.
This presentation will cover the investigation into one of the most sophisticated bank robber and fraud artists ever investigated by a Canadian police agency. The accused Gerald BLANCHARD was arrested after a three year investigation and faced more than 40 charges of theft, fraud as well as participating in a criminal organization.
BLANCHARD was also charged with conspiracy to hire a hit man to kidnap and murder his former girlfriend and co accused Lynette TIEN from his jail cell in Headingley Manitoba.
This presentation is a story straight from the pages of a pulp fiction thriller. This file was a multi agency investigation that included investigations overseas in Europe and across Canada. Among many charges (41 in total), BLANCHARD is alleged to be the mastermind behind a $500,000 bank heist in Winnipeg Canada. That robbery led police to similar thefts in Ontario, Alberta and British Columbia. What is most interesting about BLANCHARD was his technical sophistication and his ability to think fast on his feet. Investigators to this day admit they have not experienced anything like the level of sophistication and technical savvy employed by BLANCHARD.
BLANCHARD in many of his bank thefts manage to override bank security systems with elaborate techniques that have been described by investigators as very elaborate.
BLANCHARD also led police to the recovery of a missing piece of royal jewellery stolen from inside a secure glass case in Vienna's Schoenbrunn Palace. The "Star of Empress Sisi" was later located safely hidden in the residence belonging to BLANCHARD's grandmother.
BLANCHARD and his group made millions and lived a playboy lifestyle travelling the world to live it up on extravagant holidays. They left red herrings that caused police to embark in the completely wrong direction and was always thinking and staying steps ahead of the police. Even when detained on two occasions, managed in one case, to reposition his handcuffs into the front while in the back of the police cruiser. And upon waiting to be taken out of the police car by police escorts jumped to the front seat, locked the doors and drove off in the police car.
INSPECTOR TRENT ROLFE – Royal Canadian Mounted Police
Inspector Rolfe has 20 years of service with the RCMP, all of which has been in the Lower Mainland of BC. He has been involved in writing wiretaps since 1994.
Inspector Rolfe has worked in the "E" Div. Vancouver Drug Section chasing cocaine importers, Unsolved Homicide Unit collecting evidence on 35 year old murders cases and the Legal Application Support Team where he's mentored warrant and wiretap writers throughout BC and Canada. He is frequently consulted for his extensive knowledge of investigative strategies, wiretap and warrant issues. Inspector Rolfe is presently the Operations Officer of the BC Integrated Gang Task Force.
This presentation will outline the laws and recent rulings surrounding wiretap, challenges in obtaining judicial authorizations in a timely fashion, how to overcome those challenges and finally how to successfully defend a wiretap at trial.
JULIAN SHER – Investigative Journalist
Julian Sher is an award-winning investigative journalist in print, TV, radio, and on the Web. He is a veteran documentary writer and director, a newsroom trainer and the author of five international best-selling books.
His book "Until You are Dead" about Canada's most famous murder case details the investigation that helped Steven Truscott clear his name almost 50 years after he was nearly hanged as a boy.
His books on crime and the justice system have been translated into four languages and sold in seven countries. His latest book, One Child at a Time: Inside the Police Hunt to Rescue Children from Online Predators has been hailed by reviewers as "riveting", "eye-opening" and "gripping." Gaining extraordinary behind-the-scenes access, he spent two years following the work of the Canadian police as wells as the FBI and police agencies around the world. He also interviewed convicted child abusers in prison, victims and their families. Senator John Kerry called Caught in the Web “a must-read for parents, policy makers, prosecutors, and anyone who cares about our kids."
Julian has addressed law enforcement conferences – from judges to prosecutors to police -- in Dallas, San Jose, San Diego, Vancouver and Winnipeg. His articles on Internet child predators have appeared in the New York Times, USA Today, and the Toronto Globe and Mail. He has appeared on CNN, the BBC and all the major Canadian TV and radio networks on the subject. He was named as one of the “Heroes of the Fight” by the Kids Internet Safety Alliance.
He co-wrote two books on the Hells Angels, The Road to Hell and Angels of Death which have been cited in court cases and media reports across the country.
He has twice won the Arthur C. Ellis award given by the Crime Writers of Canada for the Best True Crime Book of the Year. He has filmed, written and produced other major documentaries across the globe, covering nuclear terrorism, wars, scandals, corruption and human rights in Afghanistan, Iraq, Africa, Russia, Europe, the Middle East, Asia and across North America. For the CBC, his documentaries have won numerous awards, included a Gemini. In 2006, he directed a New York Times-CBC TV investigation called “Nuclear Jihad” which won the Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Award, the broadcast equivalent of the Pulitzer Prize.
He sits on the Ethics Committee of the Canadian Association of Journalists.
Julian Sher will be presenting on MASTERING THE WEB AS AN INVESTIGATIVE TOOL and "What police and journalists don’t understand about each other and need to know".
For more information, see www.juliansher.com
WILLIAM (Bill) C. WEST, Q.C.
The B.C. Regional Office of the PPSC has created the Learning Centre to deliver training to all police officers in the province, PPSC prosecutors and agents full time. That is its sole purpose. West is the counsel assigned to carry this forward.
West has been conducting presentations for the last six years to RCMP members and other police agencies. Last November his training became full time. He distributes case summaries of recent decisions impacting our prosecutions. This distribution list is sent to over 1,000 police officers across the country and further distributed by many of them.
The topics West will cover will include:
• Search and seizure: It covers a number of issues which investigators deal with daily. These included warranted and unwarranted searches, post seizure requirements, notes, consent searches, grow operations, guides for disclosure & RTCCs and problem based scenarios.
• Notes, warrantless searches, consent searches, post seizure requirements and problem based scenarios;
Disclosure and the RTCC.
This lecture will be highly informative for investigators on many levels as it is relevant to not only investigations but also for court preparation.
INSPECTOR LES YEO – Vancouver Police Department
Inspector Les Yeo is the Commanding Officer of the Operations Investigative Section, Vancouver Police Department. His career has spanned more than 27 years with experience in Patrol, Strike Force, the Dog Squad, and most recently, Major Crime where he implemented a robbery reduction program which saw the incidence of robbery in the City of Vancouver fall by more than 70%.
A Provincially Accredited Team Commander, he was the Officer in Charge of the Graham McMynn case, a high profile kidnapping involving more than 650 Officers that culminated after 8 days in the dynamic rescue of the victim following simultaneous raids on 14 residences.
After being shot and wounded while arresting a robbery suspect, Inspector Yeo served for 12 years as a member of the Critical Incident Stress Management Team and travelled to assist members of NYPD immediately following the 9-11 terrorist attacks on New York City in 2001.
Inspector Yeo is the recipient of numerous commendations including the Canadian Bankers Association Law Enforcement Award and CBA Certificate of Excellence. He has also received the Lieutenant-Governor’s Award for Meritorious Service and in 1999 was named Vancouver Police Officer of the Year.
Inspector Yeo will be presenting on the high profile McMynn Kidnapping that occurred in Vancouver BC three years ago. Five men were charged with the brazen daylight kidnapping of a UBC student Graham McMynn, the son of a wealthy Vancouver businessman. The scope of the file, the tactics used, the multi agency investigation and surveillance tactics used in the ultimate rescue of the hostage will be discussed.