Criminal Investigations for Patrol Officers and New Detectives

This 3 day course is designed to assist with learning the fundamentals of criminal investigation. Topics include how to assess a crime scene, evaluate and determine the type of crime committed, as well as methods to use to conduct a thorough investigation. Proven techniques for the handling of evidence, writing and securing search warrants, identifying suspects and eliciting true confessions will be covered. The practical exercises conducted will assist attendees in building confidence in their ability, as well as instruct them on how to prepare for a successful criminal case prosecution.

The training is designed for Patrol Officers, New and Seasoned Investigators, Field Training Officers, Crime Scene Personnel and Supervisors


  • Initial Response to Crime Scenes
  • Crime scene supervision 
  • Initial Scene Interviews to Formal Interrogations
  • Natural & Undetermined Deaths
  • Search Warrants
  • Use of Social Media as Investigative Tool
  • Virginia Beach Mass Shooting
  • Show-ups and Line-ups
  • Note-taking and Court Preparation
  • Legal Rights and 4th Amendment Issues
  • Working with the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner
  • Learn the most common mistakes investigators make during cross exam
  • Brady v Maryland and Giglio v. U.S.
  • Piedmont Academy class Sept. 19-22 offers a 4th day of forensics including evidence handling & crime scene photography
  • Course Availability
  • July 23, 2024 - July 25, 2024 26 Seats Left
    Central Shenandoah CJ Training Academy Weyers Cave, Va
  • August 12, 2024 - August 14, 2024 14 Seats Left
    Chesterfield Public Safety Training Center Chesterfield, VA
Donnie Norrell, Retired, Norfolk Police Department
Donnie Norrell
Retired, Norfolk Police Department

Donnie earned a BA in Criminal Justice from Saint Leo University and served 26 years with the Norfolk Police Department before retiring. After graduating from the police academy, he was assigned to uniform patrol briefly before moving into Vice & Narcotics, where he spent 10 years. He was transferred to K-9, where he served as part of the emergency response team (ERT) for the next 5 years and completed his time in Norfolk, assigned to Homicide. During his 10 year stent in homicide, he was assigned to 77 “active” homicides, achieved a 100% clearance rate and brought to a close 7 “cold case” homicides. He’s received several letters of commendation and was awarded Police Officer of the Year in 1999. After retiring from the police department, Donnie continued his work in death investigations with the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, in Norfolk, Virginia, where he served as the State’s Senior Investigator. He was certified by the American Board of Medicolegal Death Investigators and has conducted over five thousand medicolegal death investigations. Donnie was a certified instructor with DCJS, a member of the Virginia Beach police “civilian” cold case squad and the NCIS cold case work group.

Philip G. Evans, Deputy Commonwealth's Attorney, Retired
Philip G. Evans
Deputy Commonwealth's Attorney, Retired

Philip G. Evans, recently retired after 27 years service as Deputy Commonwealth's Attorney, Norfolk, Virginia, 1994-2021.  Supervised the Adult Violent Crime Prosecution Team for 24 years and personally prosecuted all types of violent crime cases to include approximately 150 murder cases which included twenty-five defendants charged with capital murder; Recipient, 2018 Warren B. Von Schuch Award,  Distinguished Prosecutor Award; Recognized by the Federal Bureau of Investigation Biometric Identification Award [Next Generation Identification System] in both 2019, Commonwealth v. Daniel Johnston: [Jury Trial, 1981 cold case homicide] and 2015, Commonwealth v. Amin Garcia, [Jury trial: cold case sexual assault]; Served as Faculty Instructor from 2004-2020 for the Virginia Commonwealth’s Attorneys’ Services Council (CASC) and/or Virginia Association of Commonwealth’s Attorneys (VACA) for multiple instruction courses to include Prosecuting Homicides, Prosecuting Capital Murder Cases, Virginia DNA Procedures; Virginia Post-Conviction DNA Petitions/Evidence Retention; Member, 2016 Association of Prosecuting Attorneys (APA) National Workgroup: “Police Officer Use of Force Project”; Instructor on Criminal Procedure, Norfolk Police Department, 1994-2021.  Served in the United States Army Judge Advocate General’s Corps, 1987-1994, as both prosecutor and defense counsel: 82d Airborne Division, Fort Bragg; United States Army Berlin, Germany; United States Army Trial Defense Service.  Juris Doctor [Law Degree], Loyola University of Chicago; Bachelor’s Degree: Journalism, The Pennsylvania State University.  Resident of Chesapeake, Virginia.