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Dr. Briggs has been criminologist for over twenty years, and has most recently been specializing in forensic based criminology with a focus on the use of scent detection K9s and human decomposition. Dr. Briggs is a full, tenured professor of criminology and criminal justice at Western Carolina University, and is the Director of Emergency and Disaster Management Program. She has been recognized as being one of the top educators in the state of North Carolina.
She holds a Ph.D. in Crime and Deviance, a Master of Public Affairs, and a Master of Science. She has field experience in law enforcement and criminal justice and has taught at several major universities including University of Connecticut, North Carolina State University, East Tennessee State University, and Western Carolina University.
Briggs is President of the State of North Carolina Criminal Justice Association (NCCJA), as well as the Secretary of the North Carolina Search and Rescue Dog Association, she is on the board and an instructor for the DuPont Rescue Experience. She is also a member of the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigations Human Remains Task Force. Dr. Briggs is the Director of the Emergency and Disaster Management Program at Western Carolina and specializes in Missing Persons: Search and Recovery.
She is a committed educator and has been recognized by receiving several teaching awards as well as service engagement awards particularly because of her dedication to serving the community and the field of criminal justice. Her current research focus is on presenting conference papers, conducting experiments and research studies, and writing publications on the science of human decomposition and the use of scent detection canines; literature has been almost absent in this area. She is the author of over 30 academic publications including text books, peer-reviewed articles, and book chapters. Importantly, she merges her commitment to education with her passion of being a successful human recovery canine handler and trainer. Briggs actively serves on criminal cases at either the federal, state, or local level, and has been specifically involved in many high-profile cases with the State Bureau of Investigation, The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, and other state and local agencies. She “vets” K9 teams to be utilized by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. Her current three year old HRD K9, Laila, has cleared 8 cases by finding human remains.
Edwin Grant has 29 years of law-enforcement and K9 search experience. Edwin has been involved in over a thousand searches, and has instructed, coordinated, and trained K9s all over the United States and around the world. He has over 10,000 hours as trainer/ instructor for sheriff’s departments, police departments, federal and state agencies, search and rescue units and K9 missions in the United States and abroad. He has worked all disciplines of scent-detection dogs with specific focus on trailing and cadaver dogs for 27 years, narcotics dog training for 12 years, Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF) arson, accelerant, and explosive dogs for 10 years. Mr. Grant has been a State of North Carolina general instructor and specialized instructor for over 25 years through the NC Training and Standards Division. He has written lesson plans for State of North Carolina for death by drowning and underwater forensics and the use of dogs. He is a founder in the state for initiating cadaver and bloodhound programs, developing state standards and evaluations for North Carolina. He is an expert witness in grave detection and analysis as well as water search and recovery. Edwin has been credited with over 100 cadaver water finds and recoveries. Specifically, he has been involved in many high-profile cases for the FBI, SBI, and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. He was assigned to the largest manhunt in the U.S. for 3 years working with all federal, state, and local agencies on the Eric Rudolph Olympic and serial bomber case. Edwin has also worked K9 search and recovery for 9/11 and major hurricanes throughout the country.
Mr. Grant is a retired Wildlife Enforcement Officer for the State of North Carolina. He is U.S. Department of State Certified and Authorized for executive protection in the United States and abroad. In addition, he is a U.S. Forest Service Deputy and Search coordinator, as well he currently serves as a police K9 handler and trainer for county law enforcement. In addition, he is currently one of three search specialist coordinators for The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. He also “vets” K9 teams to be utilized by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. He has been awarded the North Carolina Governor Award for Officer of the Year, The Southeast Officer of the Year Award, The Shikar Safari Award, The Sophia Silva Award for the Saving of Human Lives, and the FBI award for Exceptional Service in the Public Interest.