The International Association of Law Enforcement Intelligence Analysts (IALEIA) Journal (Volume 20, Number 1 — September 2011).

Dr. Carl Jensen, University of Mississippi; Whitney Nickels, Mississippi Bureau of Investigation.


The present study is a case study analysis of the Mississippi Cold Case Unit (MCCU), an entity that uses an innovative model of the investigation of homicides and other violent crimes. The MCCU expends few resources recent survey of cold case units. The MCCU has no investigative powers; in many ways, its personnel utilize procedures and methods more commonly found among intelligence analysts than homicide detectives. MCCU analysts perform a comprehensive and meticulous review of case files and produce a “SmartBook,” an organized compilation of the case file supplemented by analysis and recommendations. Study results suggest this approach can yield significant results. In particular, the authors conclude that: a) the systematic analysis of case files, which parallels structured analytic techniques practiced by intelligence analysts, provides considerable value in investigations; b) case files should be treated as resources, not merely repositories case files should be treated as resources, not merely repositories; c) cases often benefit from a “second set of eyes”; d) the notion that only experienced, sworn investigators can contribute to investigations may be incorrect; and e) proper case file organization and meticulous attention to detail are likely significant predictors of clearance. These strategies can be easily integrated into the investigative protocols of most law enforcement agencies. Suggestions for future research are discussed.

Keywords: homicide, cold case, investigations, law enforcement, innovative practices