Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Catch me today twice on A&E Network's "Cold Case Files"

Today, December 3rd at noon and again at 6 PM (EST) A&E Network is slated to rebroadcast the "Cold Case Files" segment in which I appeared as spokesman for an unusual, private Philadelphia organization that meets monthly in an attempt to solve unsolved homicides around the U.S.

The second segment of Broadcast #23 looks at the novel solution to an unsolved Texas murder thanks to the work of The Vidocq Society, named after Francois Eugene Vidocq, who is considered by many to be the father of modern-day detective practice.

Vidocq, who lived during the French Revolution, was a crook turned good guy, founder of the original Surete and a good friend of author Victor Hugo. In fact, Hugo based the Les Miserables characters of Jean Valjean and Javert on Vidocq.

I spent 10 pro bono years as Director of Communications for the Vidocq Society. I was their media spokesman and also wrote, edited and then desktop published the monthly Vidocq Society Journal (up to 12 pages). In addition I created and wrote their Web site which essentially has been unchanged since its inception.


Bill Kurtis' look at a cold case Texas murder and its solution was first broadcast several years ago. Parts were taped at the Down Town Club in Philadelphia, at the top floor of the Curtis Building across the street from Independence Hall. The Society's meetings are held monthly at the Down Town Club's walnut-paneled Grill Room.

During my U.S. Department of Justice, N.J. Division of Criminal Justice and APBnews years I took well-known legal/law enforcement officials, attorney friends and good friends to meetings. The organization is choc-a-bloc with men and women in and out of law enforcement along with plain old amateurs who love a good mystery and want to help.

Meetings are closed to the public and membership is by invitation only. There are only 82 full, voting members allowed, along with more than 100 special (non-voting) members.

According to the A&E Web site, the segment features "...members of the Vidocq Society, a group of law enforcement professionals who volunteer their expertise to crack difficult cases, find blood-spatter evidence that helps solve a Texas murder."

During my 10 active years in the Society I also represented Vidocq with outside groups in and out of law enforcement. For example, here's an article and sidebar, now 10 years old, on the Vidocq Society Web site that originally appeared in The Philadelphia Inquirer. See the sidebar at the bottom featuring the brave and assiduous father of the victim in this Texas case (who lived near me in Yardley, Pennsylvania) and I both spoke to an organization in suburban Philadelphia about the organization.

At the Society's 1997 Annual Black Tie Dinner, I was awarded the Vidocq Society Outstanding Service Medal of Honor. I remain a full member of the Society but, due to the demands of managing PRforLAW, LLC, no longer speak for or handle media relations for the group.

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