Criminology department to host career conversations with legal professionals

April 10, 2020

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Over the next week, the Department of Sociology and Criminology in the College of the Liberal Arts at Penn State will host a series of conversations with three legal professionals. The sessions, which are open to all liberal arts students, will be held via Zoom.

Tuesday, April 14, 7 p.m. — Gretchen Swank, Pennsylvania State Police (Zoom link

Trooper First Class Gretchen Swank has enjoyed a nearly 20-year career with the Pennsylvania State Police. She has worked as a criminal investigator specializing in crimes against children, as a peer counselor for fellow troopers, and as a recruiter. Swank is also a certified yoga instructor.

Wednesday, April 15, 7 p.m. — Jillian Jeffers, U.S. Capitol Police (Zoom link)

Lt. Jillian Jeffers joined the United States Capitol Police in 2005. She has served in a variety of mission-driven roles. This includes serving as the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement (CALEA) Accreditation Manager for the Department. In this position, Jeffers coordinated CALEA on-site assessments that led to successful re-accreditation. She also served on the First Responder Unit, Patrol Mobile Response Division and was detailed to the Office of the Chief Administrative Officer to serve as a liaison for congressional support on policy development. Her career accomplishments include serving on the 58th Presidential Inaugural Task Force and working as a Police Officer Recruiter. Jeffers is currently assigned to the Training Services Bureau. In this role, she helps to train and support recruits at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC) in Cheltenham, Maryland.

Thursday, April 16, 7 p.m. — Thomas Dover, FBI Behavioral Assessment Unit (Zoom link)

Thomas Dover is a Crime Analyst in the FBI’s Behavioral Analysis Unit (BAU) where he provides research and operational support to the National Center for the Analysis of Violent Crime (NCAVC). Dover is also an instructor for the FBI National Academy where he teaches a graduate course to local, state, federal, tribal and international law enforcement executives on the use of behavioral analysis in decision-support. Dover began his career with the FBI in 2006 in the Violent Criminal Apprehension Program (ViCAP) Unit in the NCAVC where he provided analytical assistance in a variety of violent serial crime investigations.

In 2009, Dover joined the Behavioral Science Unit (BSU) to manage the development of computational methods to automate case-linkage analysis. Following the completion of this project, he remained with BSU and provided research, consultation, and training in support of the BSU mission. In 2014, Dover returned to the NCAVC where he provided analytical and research support to BAU-4, which focuses on crimes against adult victims and in 2018, he joined BAU-5 to focus on research, training, and program management where Dover now serves as the principal investigator for the Serial Killer Collection (SKC) Project. Overall, his current research focuses on modeling criminal behavior as a complex adaptive system, case-linkage analysis, offender decision-making, operational applications of computational criminology, identifying and reducing analytical and investigative bias, and developing methods to structure and automate case analysis techniques. He has published on a variety of topics to include the development of a unified theory of offender interaction, murder, sexual assault, insider threat modeling, computational criminology, emerging technologies, and criminal justice education. Dover earned his doctorate in computational social science at the Center for Social Complexity at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia

Questions about the sessions can be directed to Howie Smith, the event coordinator and associate teaching professor of criminology, at hbs103@psu.edu

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated April 16, 2020