Featured Speakers

Michael J. Coker

Is a passionate leader and educator well known for his unwavering dedication to his community. As a veteran of Portsmouth Police Department for over two decades, he harnesses his extensive experience to educate public and private sector professionals on the ins and outs of leadership. He travels nationally conducting trainings on important topics that both motivate and empower employees to lead with the three C’s: confidence, compassion, and competence. However, his expertise lies beyond training. His primary specialty is “EnterTRAINment,” which is a one-of-a-kind immersive experience that merges learning with fun through vivid visual aids and music.  


Michael graduated Summa Cum Laude from Bethel University with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Criminal Justice. Mike is also a 2009 PLP graduate at the Sorensen Institute for Political Leadership at the University of Virginia.    


Throughout his multifaceted career, Michael effectively occupied various assignments in Uniform Patrol and Investigations and supervised a multitude of different units during his tenure, including Homicide and Robbery, Domestic Violence/Sex Crimes Unit, Robbery Task Force, and served as the Shift Commander. He has also cultivated extensive lecturing and teaching experience, including but not limited to Indiana Chapter of the FBI National Academy Alumni Association Conference, Executive Staff Management Team in Sharonville, Ohio, Polaroid Corporation, Virginia Department of Criminal Justice Services, Illinois State Police, United States Postal Service, U.S. Attorney’s Office Northern Mississippi District, Birmingham Alabama Police Department, Las Vegas Metropolitan Police, Idaho P.O.S.T., Idaho Governor’s Task Force, Suffolk County Long Island New York, Virginia Juvenile Court Judges, Texas P.O.S.T, University of Delaware, Fairfax County Criminal Justice Academy, Hampton Roads Academy of Criminal Justice Services, Eastern Virginia Medical School, and the United States Virgin Island Police.

James Leonard

Sergeant, Criminal Investigations Unit - New Castle County Police Department

 

Sgt. James Leonard is a lifelong resident of Delaware, and was raised in North Wilmington. After attending Salesianum School, he attended York College of Pennsylvania and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice. In November, 2002 he was hired by the New Castle County Police Department and upon graduation from the police academy, he was assigned to the patrol section. After serving in the patrol section for five years, he transferred to the Criminal Investigations Unit where he investigated child abuse and homicide cases. In 2014, Sgt. Leonard was promoted to the rank of Sergeant within the patrol section. In April 2017, Sgt. Leonard was transferred back to the Criminal Investigations Unit where he currently oversees the Family Services squad. 


Sgt. Leonard is a certified police instructor and teaches various topics both at the police academy and at in-service trainings. Sgt. Leonard is the Vice President of the Fraternal Order of Police, NCC Lodge 5, which represents the men and women of the New Castle County Police Department in labor matters and collective bargaining. He is also a board member of the Delaware State FOP Lodge where he serves on the Legislative Committee.

Yuri Melich

“The Caylee Anthony Investigation”


Lieutenant Yuri Melich of the Orange County Sheriff’s Office was the lead investigator into the 2008 disappearance and murder of 2 ½ year old Caylee Anthony, in Orlando Florida. Investigators from several agencies spent just under three years working this case to its ultimate conclusion in one of Florida’s highest profile and most media covered cases in recent history. This complex and bizarre case captured the nation’s attention and continues to draw interest from media and law enforcement agencies throughout the nation.  


Lieutenant Melich has been in law enforcement for 21 years, seventeen of which with the Orange County Sheriff’s Office. Throughout his career, he has had the opportunity to work in several specialty and investigative units to include Homicide, Missing Persons/Child Abuse, Property, and Professional Standards. He is currently assigned to the Training Section.



David Rivers

David Rivers retired as a Detective Sergeant in the Homicide Bureau of the Metro-Dade Police Department after over 27 years of service. He was assigned to the Homicide Bureau for 20 of those 27 plus years. As a lead investigator and supervisor he conducted and assisted in the conducting of several hundred investigations. These include homicides, suicides, non-vehicular accidental deaths and other death investigations. In 1988 David was assigned as the Supervisor of the “Cold Case Squad” which was responsible for the continuing investigation of information received on over 1,800 open homicides dating back to 1951. Additionally, he has consulted on cases in the United States, Canada, Holland and the United Kingdom. He has a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice from Nova Southern University and a Master of Science degree in Criminal Justice from Florida International University.  


David is a charter member and past member of the Board of Director’s of the International Homicide Investigator’s Association. On June 21, 2012 he received an Award for Excellence, Career Achievement in Death Investigation, Cold Case, and Homicide Training from the International Homicide Investigator’s Association at the 19th Annual Symposium, New Orleans, Louisiana.  Additionally, he is a member of several state homicide investigators associations. He is a current member of International Law Enforcement Educators and Trainers Association (I.L.E.E.T.A.), International Police Association (I.P.A.). In April of 2010 he was certified as a Force Science Analyst by the Force Science ® Institute Limited. In 2016 he attended the two day instructional seminar on body cameras also sponsored by the Force Science Institute.

Kelly Otis

Kelly Otis is  the Chief Investigator for the District Attorney’s Office in Wichita, Ks.  Kelly served 22 years with the Wichita Police Department-the last 11 years in the Homicide unit. Kelly has been involved in the investigation of over 400 homicide cases. In 2007, Kelly accepted the position as Chief investigator. He supervises a unit of six police investigators and 4 civilian analysts.

Thomas L. Martin

Tom Martin began his law enforcement career in 1988 as a uniformed New York State Trooper, and began his forensic career in 1990 as a crime scene field technician. For the majority of his career, Tom was assigned to the NYSP Forensic Identification Unit in Poughkeepsie, and supervised that unit for 14 years before retiring from that position in October 2010. Tom regularly provides expert forensic testimony in various state and federal courts. 


Tom’s training and experience encompass several fields of expertise, including: forensic crime scene processing, latent print processing and identification, blood stain pattern analysis and documentation, shooting reconstruction, police involved shooting scenes, forensic composite art, excavation of human remains, forensic entomology collection, digital imaging technology and photo enhancement. 


Tom has investigated thousands of forensic cases; including, murder, serial and mass murders, police involved shootings, bombings and sexual assaults. He worked at ground zero at the World Trade Center disaster and assisted with the anthrax testing and removal from the New York State government offices in 2001. 


Tom has a B.S. degree in Criminal Justice and serves as a guest lecturer at colleges and universities nation wide. In addition to his lectures, Tom has worked as a consultant for entities such as the national Institute of Justice. He has appeared on Court TV/TruTV as an expert guest analyst and has appeared on the Law Enforcement Television Network (LETN) – “Child Abuse/Child Murders”, the HBO series “Autopsy”, the Court TV series “Trace Evidence”, The TruTV series “Forensic Files” and has appeared on several episodes for The Discovery channel. He is the author of the Crime Scene Forensics: A Field Guide for the First Responder pocket guide series published by Looseleaf Law. 


Tom is a nationally recognized speaker who has instructed at numerous forensic training seminars across the United States, including the American Academy of Forensic Sciences Annual Conferences, The National Institute of Justice Annual Conferences and Technology Fairs, and the Smithsonian Institute. He is a faculty member of the National College of District Attorneys and an instructor for Public Agency Training Council, (PATC) and the International Association of Chiefs of Police, (IACP). Tom worked with the U.S. State Dept and the International Association of Chiefs of Police, (IACP) in developing and delivering training programs, involving evidence based investigations, for ranking members of the Iraqi police forces. 


Tom served as a member of the National Institute of Justice Technical Working Groups for both Sensor and Surveillance Technology and General Forensics. 


Tom established his private forensic training and consulting company, Crime Scene Forensics, LLC in 2006, and provides forensic training and case consultations nationwide.

Scott Duffey

Scott Duffey retired from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in 2018 after serving 22 years as a Special Agent and Supervisory Special Agent in Wilmington, Delaware. Prior to that Duffey was a police officer for a Pennsylvania municipality for 6 years.  While employed with the FBI he worked a variety of violent crime matters, and was an adjunct instructor for the FBI teaching local law enforcement locally and internationally in interview and interrogation skills. Scott Duffey currently instructs local law enforcement recruits interview and interrogation skills at the Montgomery County, Pennsylvania Police Academy and is employed as the Associate Director of the Criminal Justice Institute for Wilmington University.

Jim Molinaro

Before founding Highlands Forensics, James Molinaro retired from the Hunterdon County Prosecutor’s Office in September 2016 where he served as a detective with the Major Crimes – Crime Scene Unit. Prior to working with the Hunterdon County Prosecutor’s Office, he retired in December 2008 as a Lieutenant from the New Jersey State Police following a twenty-six-year career. Mr. Molinaro has over twenty-nine years of crime scene investigative experience and has conducted over 3,000 scene investigations to include hundreds of homicides, death scenes and police involved shooting investigations. He has testified numerous times as an expert witness in crime scene reconstruction and investigation, shooting analysis, scene processing and friction ridge processing/identification in United States Federal, New Jersey and New York State Superior Courts.  


Mr. Molinaro holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Biology from Seton Hall University and is a member of the Association for Crime Scene Reconstruction, International and New Jersey Division of the International Association for Identification, is an associate member of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences and is a certified New Jersey Police Training Commission instructor.  


Mr. Molinaro provides consultation, advisory and instructional services to federal, state, county and local police departments throughout the United States on a wide range of crime scene related disciplines and serves as an instructor on the topic of shooting analysis and reconstruction for Forensic Training Source, LLC, the University of Tennessee, National Forensics Academy and the CSI Academy of Florida.

Dana Gouge

Dana Gouge is the Chief Investigator with the Johnson County District Attorney’s Office, which is a part of the Kansas City metro area. He has more than 31 years of experience as a law enforcement officer. This includes over 20 years with the Wichita Police Department, where he retired in December 2007 after serving more than 12 years as a homicide detective. Following retirement, he served as a law enforcement officer for the Sedgwick County District Attorney’s Office, as the Deputy Chief of Investigations, from 2007 until 2014. He is  currently a member of the Officer Involved Shooting Investigation Team (OISIT). Gouge holds a Master of Business Administration degree and is a Certified Fraud Examiner.

Craig Appel

Detective Craig Appel has been assigned to the Aurora Police Department Major Case Homicide Unit for the past ten years. During the past ten years he was also assigned to the Denver FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force for three years. 


Craig attended Indiana University of Pennsylvania and graduated in 1986. Craig traveled south to Florida and started his law enforcement career at the Palm Beach Police Department, Palm Beach, FL in 1986. After a short time Craig was hired on with the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office, Palm Beach County, Florida. This is where Craig learned his law enforcement foundation when crack cocaine was in the epidemic stages. Craig’s last assignment at PBSO was with the Major Smuggling Unit and SWAT. Yearning for a more diverse climate, Craig lateral hired to the Aurora Police Department, Aurora, CO in July 1994. Craig was promoted to Detective in 2000 and assigned to the Persons Crimes, Gang Interventions Unit and lastly the Major Crime Homicide Unit from 2007. 


On July 20, 2012 Craig was assigned as the lead investigator in the Century 16 Mass Murder Investigation. Craig spent three years of his career investigating and preparing the case for the court room. Craig’s spends his off duty time with his beautiful daughter and enjoying his outdoor passions to include rock climbing, mountain biking and hunting.

Danny Briley

Danny Briley is a Texas Ranger, responsible for assisting local, state and federal agencies with major crimes – murder, rape, robbery, corruption and border security. Ranger Briley has 21 years law enforcement experience – 10 years Texas Highway Patrol, and 11 years as a Texas Ranger. He is a senior member of the Texas Rangers Special Operations Group – RECON Team.  Ranger Briley has actively led and carried out many high risk missions and high profile murder investigations throughout Texas, including the American Sniper Case. All cases have resulted in maximum punishment. Ranger Briley has earned and been credited for his criminal work with numerous commendations. The presentation of Chris Kyle and Chad Littlefield’s murders exposes the real truth from a law enforcement perspective - Evil Looks A Lot Like Crazy.

Jon King

Jon King is a 19 year veteran of the Delaware State Police and is currently assigned to the Homicide Unit as an investigator. Jon served 8 years as a uniformed trooper before his transfer to criminal investigations. Prior to joining the Delaware State Police, Jon graduated from Rowan University with a Bachelor’s degree in Law Justice, was as a 9-1-1 dispatcher and served as a Delaware Probation Officer. Jon has worked a multitude of felony level cases during his career while specializing in child homicide, abuse and neglect cases.

Amy Lloyd

Detective Amy Lloyd is a Delaware State Trooper with fourteen years of police experience, currently assigned as a Detective in the Troop 2 Major Crimes Unit. The Major Crimes Unit is responsible for investigating cases such as rapes, suicides, serious assaults not resulting in death, domestics, and missing persons. Amy has worked in criminal investigations since 2013, previously serving in the Troop 2 Financial Crimes Unit. Prior to 2013, Amy was assigned to uniformed patrol with Delaware State Police Troop 6. Amy is a 2005 graduate of University of Delaware (B.S. Family and Community Services).

Each year the Delaware State Police strive to obtain Speakers that address national topics, trends and technology. As we confirm our topics and presenters, we will update our website with their information and biographies.