Florida Crime Scene Investigation Training

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About Our School

ABOUT OUR SCHOOL

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ABOUT OUR SCHOOL

CSI ACADEMY OF FLORIDA: OFFERING FORENSIC TRAINING

At CSI Academy of Florida, we offer our students high-quality education and hands-on training in forensic science and crime scene investigation. We welcome individuals who are just starting their journeys into CSI and forensic science careers, as well as current law enforcement professionals who want to continue their education and certifications. Whether you are from Alachua, Florida or live across the nation, we are happy to provide the training you need.

Students who complete our program learn everything from crime scene analysis procedures to the process for providing effective courtroom testimony. We are licensed by the Commission for Independent Education #4844. Our campus is located in Alachua, Florida, which is north of Gainesville and about two hours away from Tampa, Orlando, and Jacksonville.

At CSI Academy of Florida, we have:

  • A 28,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art facility
  • 7 acres of land that are used for hands-on forensic science training
  • Training exercises that are based on real cases from the past
  • Experienced faculty members with up-to-date professional licenses and certifications in Florida
  • Courses approved for International Association for Identification certification

To learn more about CSI Academy of Florida, call our office at (888) 518-2832!

MEET OUR INSTRUCTORS

Lerah Sutton is the Dean and Director of Forensic Education at the CSI Academy of Florida.  She is currently a Doctoral Fellow in Forensic Anthropology at the University of Florida where she received her Master’s Degree in Forensic Science.  She is also employed by the University of Florida Maples Center for Forensic Medicine and teaches in the nationally recognized Hume Honors College.  Her areas of research interest and specialization include human decomposition, forensic taphonomy, and comparative osteology.  At the request of law enforcement agencies and academic institutions, she frequently responds to death investigation scenes, consults on cases, and offers hands-on workshops and educational seminars.  She previously worked at the Florida District 7 & 24 Office of the Medical Examiner where she provided administrative support and assisted in the morgue.  Lerah was instrumental in the design and development of the Master of Science in Forensic Medicine at UF, and will serve as program director upon completion of her PhD in December 2017.  In addition to her academic duties, she plans to continue original research on methods of estimating the postmortem interval.

Education:

  • B.S. in Criminal Justice at Liberty University

Experience:

  • Police Officer for Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office
  • Major Crimes Crime Scene Detective for Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office
  • Training Coordinator for Crime Scene Unit at Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office
  • Member of Region 3’s Forensic Response Team

Occupational Licenses, Certifications, or Registrations:

  • Member of the International Association for Identification
  • Member of the Association of Crime Scene Reconstruction
  • Member of the Florida Division of International Association for Identification
  • Law Enforcement Certification
  • Corrections Certification
  • Criminal Justice Standards and Training Instructor Certification

Education:

  • BA History at the University of Florida
  • Criminal Justice at Santa Fe College
  • State of Florida Police Certification at Santa Fe College Police Academy

Experience:

  • Police Officer/Crime Scene Investigator for the City of Gainesville
  • Adjunct Instructor for Police Academy at Santa Fe College

Occupational Licenses, Certifications, or Registrations:

  • Criminal Justice Standards and Training Instructor Certification
  • Criminal Justice Standards and Training Police Officer Certification
  • Senior Crime Scene Analyst Certification with the International Association for Identification

Education:

  • CJST Standards at the Santa Fe College Police Academy
  • FBI NA Graduate at the FBI National Academy

Experience:

  • Special Operations Bureau Lieutenant at the Alachua County Sheriff’s Office
  • Director, Eighth Judicial Circuit Special Investigation Unit
  • FL Licensed Private Investigator

Occupational Licenses, Certifications, or Registrations:

  • Florida Police Certification (Retired)
  • Florida Licensed Private Investigator
  • Board Accredited Investigator

Education:

  • Law Enforcement Certification, Florida Gateway College
  • Certified Law Enforcement Instructor
  • Certified Law Enforcement Driving Instructor

Experience:

  • Detective Sergeant Jimmy Watson is employed by the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office in Lake City Florida and has worked for the Sheriff’s Office since October 2007; prior to that he worked as a Police Officer with the Lake City Police Department.
  • Sergeant Watson is the supervisor of the CCSO Crime Scene Unit and has worked in that capacity since 2013. Sergeant Watson is also the agency’s assigned Internet Crimes against Children Investigator and is a member of the North Florida ICAC Task Force. Other job duties include Agency Instructor, Crisis Negotiator, Cold Case Investigations, Sex Crimes Investigations, and Clandestine Drug Lab response, clean-up, and processing.

Education:

  • MS Forensics at the University of Florida

Experience:

  • Victim Advocate at the Alachua County Sheriffs Office
  • Crime Scene Investigator at the Alachua County Sheriffs Office
  • Veterinary Forensic Analyst at the University of Florida
  • Chemist, Forensic Toxicology at the University of Florida
  • Adjunct Instructor, Law Enforcement Academy at Santa Fe College of Institute of Public Safety

Occupational Licenses, Certifications, or Registrations:

  • Criminal Justice Instructor, Criminal Justice Standards and Training – Florida Department of Law Enforcement
  • Certified Crime Scene Investigator, International Association for Identification

Education:

  • Criminology at Florida State University
  • BA Criminology at Saint Leo University

Experience:

  • Corrections Officer at the Lancaster Correctional Institution
  • Evidence/Crime Scene Manager/LPE at the Levy County Sheriffs Office
  • Senior Certified Latent Print Examiner

Occupational Licenses, Certifications, or Registrations:

  • International Association for Identification Certified Latent Print Examiner

Education:

  • Associates of Arts degree-Santa Fe College
  • Numerous training classes in the field of Crime Scene Investigation, Death Investigation and Photography.
  • State of Florida Police Certification at Santa Fe College Police Academy

Experience:

  • 22 years as Crime Scene Investigator with the Gainesville Police Dept.
  • 4 years as a Traffic Homicide Investigator with the Gainesville Police Dept.
  • Retired after one year as a Police Officer with the University of Florida Police Dept. and 30 years as a Police Officer with the Gainesville Police Dept.

Occupational Licenses, Certifications, or Registrations:

  • Criminal Justice Standards and Training Police Officer Certification
  • Life Member of the Florida Division of the International Association for Identification.

Education:

  • MA English at the University of Florida

Experience:

  • Deputy Sheriff, Sergeant, Detective (Homicide, Sex Crimes, Child Abuse, and Computer Pornography including “Innocent Images” and “Traveler Cases”), Internal Affairs, Inspector at the Alachua County Sheriffs Office
  • Police Officer at the Gainesville Police Department
  • Adjunct Professor at Santa Fe College
  • Graduate Research Assistant and Adjunct Instructor at the University of Florida, Secondary School AP and Duel Enrollment Instructor
  • Independent Contractual Case Work for Private Attorneys

Occupational Licenses, Certifications, or Registrations:

  • Law Enforcement Certification
  • Innocent Images Certification

Education:

  • BA in Criminology at the University of Florida
  • Numerous training classes in the field of Crime Scene Investigation, Death
  • Investigation and Photography

Experience:

  • Corporal, United States Army, Signal Corp
  • Police Officer at the University of Florida Police Department
  • 28 years as a Police Officer with the Gainesville Police Department with 7 years as a Property and Persons Crimes Detective and 12 years as a Major Case Crime Scene Investigator

Occupational Licenses, Certifications, or Registrations:

  • Criminal Justice Standards and Training Police Officer Certification
  • Member of the Florida Division of the International Association for Identification
  • Field Training Officer for new Police Officers

Education

  • M.S. in Criminal Forensics, Florida Gulf Coast University

Experience

  • Forensic Investigator, District 21 Medical Examiner’s Office Fort Myers, FL
  • Adjunct Instructor, Florida Southwestern State College Fort Myers, FL
  • Instructor, Lee County Sheriff’s Office Sergeant’s Academy
  • Instructor, Sanibel Police Department Supervisor’s Academy

Occupational Licenses, Certifications, Registrations

  • Board Certified Medicolegal Death Investigator (Fellow),
  • American Board of Medicolegal Death Investigators, BC1659
  • Certified Radiographer, Florida Department of Health JX0025921
  • Associate Member, American Academy of Forensic Science
  • Certified CANVAS Instructor
  • Beta Test Member, Physicians for Human Rights International Forensics Program
  • Advisory Board Member, Keiser University Fort Myers, FL
  • Foundation for Lee County Public Schools STEM Program

(Science, Technology, Engineering and Math); guest instructor for Criminal Justice High School Academies at South Fort Myers High School, East Lee County High School)

Education:

  • MA in Criminal Justice Administration, University of South Florida
  • BS in Biology, Jacksonville University

Experience:

  • Chief Forensic Investigator, Pasco Sheriff’s Office
  • Forensic Scientist III, Latent Prints, BAE Systems, Joint Expeditionary Forensics Facilities
  • Director of Forensic Sciences, Hernando County Sheriff’s Office
  • Law Enforcement Lieutenant, State of Florida, University of South Florida
  • Crime Laboratory Analyst, State of Florida, Florida Department of Law Enforcement
  • Crime Scene Investigator, Alachua County Sheriff’s Office
  • Deputy Sheriff, Alachua County Sheriff’s Office

Occupational Licenses, Certifications, Registrations, Offices:

  • Life Member, Florida Division of the International Association for Identification
  • Former CJSTC Instructor
  • Former Florida Police Officer (inactive, retired)
  • Florida Licensed Investigator
  • Director Region 3, Florida Division of the International Association for Identification

Education:

  • Associates of Arts- Santa Fe Community College
  • Bachelors of Science in Criminology- Florida State University
  • Law Enforcement Certification- Santa Fe Community College Institute of Public Safety

Experience:

  • Retired Police Corporal- Gainesville (FL) Police Department
  • Medical Malpractice Investigator- Florida Department of Health
  • Reserve Police Officer- City of Alachua Police Department
  • Claims Investigator- Veracity Research Company
  • Investigator- Alpha Protection and Investigations

Occupational Licenses, Certifications, or Registrations:

  • Certified Law Enforcement Officer
  • Licensed Private Investigator in the following States:
  • Florida
  • Georgia

MEET OUR STAFF

Deb Mongiardo is a University of Florida Graduate.  She started a career in banking in 1984 and worked all aspects of banking through 2011.  Always having an interest in Crime Scene Investigation, Deb was approached to be part of the start up process of the CSI Academy.  Eager to be part of a cutting edge training facility, she left banking and started with the CSI Academy in 2012… and hasn’t looked back!  She has been happily married for 18 years.

Jason Massey has a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice.  He served in the US Army for 12 years and completed 3 tours of duty in Iraq.  He has been a volunteer in the crime scene unit at the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office for 5 years.  In addition to his crime scene investigation work, he is a program assistant at the CSI Academy of Florida wherein he oversees facility operations and the community outreach program.

Stephanie Massey is a former military wife whose husband served 12 years in the US Army.  She has an associate’s degree in Education and is planning to complete her bachelor’s degree in the near future.  She previously worked at the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office as an evidence technician before joining the CSI Academy full time.  In her position at the Academy she oversees the community outreach program and marketing initiatives.

Erin Sprague received her Bachelors degree at the University of Florida in Criminology with a minor in Psychology. She started out as an intern at the Academy and moved her way up to intern supervisor in 2017. She has training in crime scene work and is experienced in marketing and management. She is interested in doing psychological research into the criminal mind and applying it to crime scene analysis.

Our two managing partners are Mr. Tom R. Sperring, Sr. and his wife Phyllis. The Sperrings are true business people. In 1972 Mr. Sperring founded C&S Building Maintenance Corporation. He was working as a nursery inspector for the State of Florida when he founded the small corporation to supplement his family’s income. Thirty four years later this small family corporation had grown into a very successful business that employed over 500 people. This was done under the leadership of Mr. Sperring, the chairman of the board and CEO and his wife Phyllis, who served as president and chief financial officer.

Some of C&S’s major clients:

  • The operation of 72 movable bridges (draw bridges) for the Florida Department of Transportation.
  • Furnishing janitorial services for all the municipal buildings in Duval County/City of Jacksonville,
  • Operating 29 rest areas for the State of Florida.
  • Managed the locks and dams in the State of Florida for the North and South Florida Water Management Districts.

The Sperrings sold their business but continued their entrepreneurial endeavors. They understand the complexity of business, for this reason the Sperrings chose to become managing partners for the CSI Academy of Florida.

IN MEMORIAM

It is with great sadness in our hearts that we announce the passing of beloved friend and mentor Dan Gerard. As senior instructor and Retired Alachua County Detective Sergeant, Dan carried more than 30 years of experience in law enforcement and forensics. He earned a B.A. in Criminal Justice at St. Leo University, specializing in crime scene training.

Prior to retirement, he served as a U.S. Army military police investigator, and was awarded two commendation medals for his service. For 11 years, he occupied a supervisory role as Forensic Unit Supervisor, and was Region 3 Forensic Response Team Leader from 2006-2013. Dan is survived by Maggie, his wife of 26 years, and his daughter Sarah.

Dan is sorely missed by the CSI Academy family every day. Our thoughts and prayers remain with his family and friends.


Education:

  • BA Criminal Justice at Saint Leo College

Experience:

  • Military Police Investigator in the Army
  • Police Officer at the Gainesville Police Department
  • Deputy Sheriff, Sergeant, Crime Scene Supervisor

Occupational Licenses, Certifications, or Registrations:

  • Law Enforcement Certification
  • International Association for Identification
  • Law Enforcement Instructors Certification

Danny was one of the most prominent and influential investigators in North Florida. He died of cancer the same year that the academy was founded. Mr. Pascucci was highly respected in the law enforcement community. He was known for his success in cracking criminal cases, as well as for his ability to draw out crucial information from defendants.

Mr. Pascucci has worked on numerous high-profile cases, including the “Gainesville Student Murders” case. The investigative work in this case resulted in the arrest and conviction of Danny Rolling, a serial killer who was responsible for the murder of 5 people in 1990.

During his career, Mr. Pascucci served as the Alachua County Sheriff’s Office’s head of forensics. In this role, he spearheaded the use of CSI technology. After retiring in 1997, he continued to work as a private investigator. One highlight of his career was being hired by the U.S. Justice Department to perform investigative work for missions that took place in Iraq and former Yugoslavia. Evidence that he collected was used in the prosecution of Slobodan Milošević at The Hague – a case involving charges of crimes against humanity in Kosovo.

At CSI Academy of Florida, we strive to carry on the legacy of Mr. Pascucci by teaching others how to uphold the same standards of excellence within the investigative field

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