Instructors

Dr. Heather Burkard
Dr. Burkard is a Criminologist and Forensic Specialist. She holds a Doctor of Philosophy in Public Safety with a specialization in Criminal Justice; a Master’s degree in Forensic Science; and a Bachelor’s degree in Criminology with minor in Biology, and a specialization in Management and Human Services.  She has actively worked in the field of forensic science as an investigator, instructor, and consultant for over 13 years. Dr. Burkard specializes in crime scene investigation, child homicide, and case analyses. She recently completed a comprehensive research study that analyzed the homicidal patterns of biological parents and stepparents who have killed their children, and is in the process of publishing her results.

Her career began in Tampa, FL as a Forensic Investigator for the Medical Examiner’s Office, then she relocated to North Carolina and joined the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department’s Crime Scene Investigation Unit. A few years later, she moved to the Cabarrus County District Attorney’s Office as a Prosecutorial Investigator. At that time, she was assigned to the specialized Homicide Prosecution Team, as well as the Safe Haven Team — a specialized prosecution team for sexual offenses against children and adults, felony assaults, and domestic violence homicides.

Dr. Burkard is the President of Topline Forensic Consulting, Inc., which provides a variety of forensic consulting services and educational services. She is an adjunct professor for Saint Leo University, as well as Surry Community College and teaches graduate and undergraduate criminal justice and forensic science classes. Dr. Burkard is a member of several professional organizations, and is currently the President of the North Carolina Professional Society on the Abuse of Children. She also remains actively engaged with several local professional organizations, such as the Advisory Board of the Children’s Advocacy Center of Cabarrus County, the Cabarrus County Child Fatality Review Team, and the Cabarrus County Child Protection Team.

Heather teaches: Footwear & Tire Tracks

Buren Foster
Mr. Foster is on the FBI Evidence Response Team, Charlotte, NC. Buren has many years of experience in both professional photography and crime scene photography. He teaches surveillance photography at the FBI academy at Quantico VA and is the lead forensic photographer for the FBI in North Carolina. He has done forensic photography assignments in Baghdad, Iraq and with the FBI Miami Division. His experience includes crime scenes, plane crashes, homicides, body recovery and terrorism type cases.

“Bernie” teaches: Basic Crime Scene Photography
Photoshop for Crime Scene Investigators

Ross M. Gardner
Ross is co-author of the text Bloodstain Pattern Analysis, with an Introduction to Crime Scene Reconstruction, 2nd Edition and author of Practical Crime Scene Processing and Investigation. He is certified by the International Association for Identification (IAI) as a Senior Crime Scene Analyst. Gardner holds a Master’s degree in Computer and Information Systems Management from Webster University, a Bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice from Wayland Baptist University and an Associate’s degree in Police Science from Central Texas College. He is a former President of the Rocky Mountain Association of Bloodstain Pattern Analysts (RMABPA) as well as the Association for Crime Scene Reconstruction (ACSR) and has serviced as Chairman of the Education Committee for the International Association of Bloodstain Pattern Analysts (IABPA). He is a current member of the FBI Scientific Workgroup on Bloodstain Pattern Analysis (SWGSTAIN).

Ross teaches: Bloodstain Pattern Analysis
Advanced Bloodstain Pattern Analysis

Eddie Howell
Eddie Howell is a Crime Scene Investigator with the Gaston County Police Department where he was also a former Criminal Investigations Detective. His experience includes various types of crime scenes, homicides, body recovery and death investigation type cases. He earned a bachelor’s degree from East Tennessee State University in Criminal Justice with a focus on Forensic Science. He has been an instructor for over 6 years teaching topics including Surviving Use of Force, Digital Evidence Recovery and Criminal Investigation. He has trained hundreds of students in the various topics.

Eddie teaches: Basic Crime Scene Academy

Lisa Mayhew
With both her bachelor and master degrees in Child Development, Lisa Mayhew has worked as a child development specialist in North Carolina since 1992. She has provided direct therapy services to children, as well as providing consultation and training within North Carolina and across the US in areas related to child development. She specializes in the 0-3 year population, children with special needs and interdisciplinary collaboration. Lisa has served as the Child Death Investigator/Trainer for the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner since 2000 conducting investigations of child deaths statewide, and providing assistance in investigations to local and state agencies. In addition, Lisa operates the Child Death Investigation Training Program in conjunction with the North Carolina Justice Academy to local and state law enforcement agencies across the US.

Lisa teaches: Child Death Investigations

Don Mikko
Don is currently the President of Forensic Firearms Training Seminars, Inc., which provides a variety of forensic services for attorneys, law enforcement agencies, insurance companies, private investigators, military organization, international organizations s and civilian personnel. www.mikkoforensics.com

He is a retired Chief Warrant Officer who served in the United States Army and spent most of his military career as a Special Agent in the United States Army Criminal Investigation Command (USACIDC).

Don has been a Forensic Firearm and Toolmark Examiner since 1990 and has spent twenty-two (22) at the United States Army Crime Laboratory (USACIL), Fort Gillem, GA where he was the  Chief of the Firearms Branch.   He also served as the Director of the Atlanta Police Department Crime Laboratory.

He’s also an ASCLD/Lab Inspector and ISO 17025 Assessor and is certified by his professional organization known as the Association of Firearm and Toolmark Examiners (AFTE) in all three forensic disciplines, which includes firearms, toolmarks and gunshot residues.  Less than 4% of his colleagues are certified in all three disciplines and Don also serves on several AFTE Committees and is currently a member of the AFTE Certification Committee.

Don is an adjunct professor for Southern Griffin Technical College and has instructed forensic and criminal justice courses at Central Texas College and Clayton State College.

He’s also a graduate of the FBINAA, class # 180th Session (1995).  He has a Master’s Degree in Business Management, a Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice and an Associate’s Degree in Police Science.

Don holds Post Certification within the State of Georgia for several forensic firearm type courses and he’s also a member of several professional organizations including AFTE, Internal Association for Identification (IAI), International Ammunition Association (IAA), CID Agents Association, FBI National Academy Association (FBINAA), 50 Caliber Shooters Association, Georgia Law Enforcement Firearm Instructors (GALEFI) and the National Rifle Association (NRA).

Don teaches: Basic Shooting Reconstruction
Advanced Shooting Reconstruction
Crime Scene Preservation & Ballistics Injury for EMS
Firearms Injuries and Distance Determination
Serial Number Restoration Techniques

Donald Rice
Donald completed his undergraduate studies at Florida State University with a Bachelor's degree in Criminology and Sociology. He attended law school at the University of Baltimore of Law and earned his Juris Doctorate in 2005. Since passing the North Carolina Bar, Donald has served as an Assistant District Attorney in Gaston County, NC. In his professional career, he has prosecuted cases ranging from traffic infractions to first degree murder. Donald specializes in DWI and domestic violence prosecution. He also teaches mandated in-service police training and BLET.

Donald teaches: Basic Crime Scene Academy
Legal Issues of Crime Scene Searches