CRC Press is pleased to share with you our author Q&A session with G. Clark Davenport, author of Remote Sensing Technology in Forensic Investigations: Geophysical Techniques to Locate Clandestine Graves and Hidden Evidence.
Remote Sensing Technology in Forensic Investigations : Geophysical Techniques to Locate Clandestine Graves and Hidden Evidence, 1st Edition
Author(s): G. Clark Davenport
Cat. #: K32311
Publication Date: June 29, 2017
Q&A with G. Clark Davenport
I have been using remote sensing systems to locate clandestine graves and hidden evidence since 1985 on over 200 cases in many States and foreign countries. In doing so, I have come to the realization that, although law enforcement agencies do excellent work, they are not often aware of how remote sensing techniques can provide cost-effective and time-efficient results in the often difficult “needle in the haystack” investigations.
What makes your book stand out from its competitors?
The book is not written as an academic explanation of Remote Sensing, it is written for the lay person, and written to be guide. The book discusses the limitations, not only the capabilities, of each method. A questionnaire is provided to help an Investigator organize information such that a specialist in remote sensing should be able to determine the applicability of each system. The book also provides a Consumer Reports-like evaluation table of the applicable methods to use when searching for specific evidentiary methods.
Is there one piece of research included in the book which surprised you or challenged your previous understanding of the topic?
I really do not do research, although a group I co-founded, NecroSearch International (NecroSearch) does applied research on a number of techniques, ranging from the effect of bleach on soils, developing software to analyse and resolve differences in pre- and post- incident aerial imagery, and determining time effectiveness of Luminol and/or Blue Star in outdoor environments.
What did you enjoy about writing the book?
I have written a number of papers, but never a book, so the process was very educational. I never felt lonely! I had excellent guidance from CRC’s staff. The process from producing a draft, editing, attaching illustrations and finalizing was explained up-front, and adhered to. I particularly enjoyed working with an editor, who, much like a defence attorney, asked a myriad of excellent technical, and editorial questions, which required scheduled and thoughtful responses.
About the Author
What is your academic background?
I have a Geophysical Engineer degree from the Colorado School of Mines (1964), and an AS degree with a speciality in Criminal Justice from Red Rocks Community College (1997).
Tell us an unusual fact about yourself and your teaching or writing style?
I am currently enrolled as a second-year student in a 4-year Education for the Ministry program through the University of the South, Sewanee Seminary.
My teaching style was (now retired) to promote discussion among students to develop strong analytical thinking techniques. The first class consisted of asking students to break into groups and then answer a number of questions about a “prop” – a car windshield with 9 bullet holes. They were asked to provide their analysis on which way the bullets entered the windshield, could the calibre of the bullets be determined? and in what order did the bullets impact the windshield.? The first crime scene investigation I gave students, at a Jesuit University, was the Crucifixion of Christ. Students were asked to develop a listing of all evidence associated with the crime scene, and explain how that evidence would be processed and analysed today.
What advice would you give to an aspiring researcher in your field?
In my world, there are two types of research; a) the development of new technologies to solve existing problems (e.g. advances in DNA), and 2) the application of existing technologies to new fields of investigation (e.g. advances in FLIR applications)
Do you have plans for future books? What’s next in the pipeline for you?
My next book is in its formative state. For the past 6 years I have been working, with an international team, 2-3 weeks each summer in Perm, Russia searching for the remains of Grand Duke Mikhail Romanov. The Grand Duke was the brother of Tsar Nikolas, and upon the Tsar’s abdication in 1917, Mikhail became the last Tsar of Russia. He was murdered near Perm in 1918. It will be an interesting book covering history, politics (historical and current), religion, forensic sciences and real-life conspiracies.
I have thought about writing a book for elementary school students grades 4-6. The book will be an introduction to various forensic sciences with the objective of interesting students to consider further readings in forensic science.
What do you feel has been a highlight for you, in your career?
Learning how forensic science can provide valuable outcomes for society. Through forensic science being able to help families and relatives obtain closure -- “There is no statute of limitations on murder, nor is there on grief”.
What do you see yourself doing in ten years' time?
At age of 76, I am not sure! I will continuing to work with NecroSearch and provide advice to other groups, such as InForce, History Flight, The Bent Prop Project, and groups searching for missing warriors..
What is the last book you read (non-academic)?
The Last Battle by Cornelius Ryan.