Former FBI Special Agent Gerard F. Downes spoke at the University of Saint Joseph via Skype on Monday, Oct. 23, 2017to an engaged crowd including students currently enrolled in USJ’s new elective, The Serial Killer Handbook. His presentation centered on his four decades of experience in the FBI and law enforcement. During that time, he worked with a group of special agents in a task force called the Behavioral Science Unit. This unit worked on profiling, identifying, and capturing serial killers.
“Professor Tracey Robinson and I feel very strongly that our students learn best when they are actively engaged. Special Agent Downes’ experience is extraordinary, and we are very grateful to have had the opportunity to bring this presentation to campus. Over the course of approximately two hours, Special Agent Downes detailed his work, the work of his unit, and took a deep dive into the lives of the law enforcement agents tasked with catching killers,” said Kathleen Mullin, J.D., director of Criminal Justice/Restorative Justice.
Students enrolled in the Serial Killer Handbook elective have final projects that focus on unsolved serial killer cases. This was an opportunity for students to learn more information and ask Special Agent Downes specific questions.
“We all left with a far clearer understanding of things like what an experienced agent takes away from the crime scene, what the clues mean, how agents can tell if the killer was known to the victim, and the importance of team work and nationwide communication between law enforcement as they work together to solve crimes. It was completely fascinating and we hope to be able to bring Special Agent Downes to campus to offer this presentation again in the coming semesters,” said Mullin.
This presentation, which was open to the public, was presented by the School of Humanities and Social Sciences and the Criminal Justice/Restorative Justice Program, in conjunction with USJ’s Psychology course “The Serial Killer Handbook.”