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Vance McLaughlin

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The Postcard Killer: The True Story of J. Frank Hickey
Vance McLaughlin  More Info
Police and the Use of Force: The Savannah Study
Vance, Ph.D. McLaughlin  More Info

About the Savannah-Chatham Police Department:

The City of Savannah, Georgia is in Chatham County.  Both the county and city essentially police the same area, but each had its own policing in agency.  According to the Savannah-Chatham Metropolitan Police Department website, “In 1962, discussions began between the City and the County to consolidate the two police departments into one. These discussions would continue over the next 40 years until in 2003 both the Chatham County Commission and the Savannah City Council voted to formally merge the departments. Commissioned with task of completing the merger within a year, the department set about bring the two into one which by any standard is a Herculean effort. However, on January 1, 2005, the Savannah-Chatham Metropolitan Police Department stood as a fully merged, fully functional, singular police agency.”




Throughout his career, Dr. Vance McLaughlin has been actively involved in training officers at federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies.  From 1974 to 1975 he was a police officer for the Sarasota Police Department (Florida).  From 1981 through1987 he was an Assistant Professor, Department of Criminal Justice, University of North Carolina at Charlotte where he taught all undergraduate and graduate courses on Law Enforcement He has been a member of the firearms instructor qualification committee of the International Association of Firearms Instructors since 1987 and assisted in designing the PPCT Use of Force Matrix and instructor standards in 1984.   Between 1987 and 2001, he was the Director of Training for the Savannah Police Department (Georgia).  He is currently the Director of Planning for the Savannah Police Department.


Dr. Vance McLaughlin is the author two books: Police and the Use of Force: The Savannah Study and The Postcard Killer.  According to the book description, “In 1912 John Frank Hickey, The Postcard Killer,  was one of the first known and captured serial killers. This fascinating story tells how a solitary milquetoast of a man wandered the American east coast for decades, harboring a terrifying assortment of personal demons. Many of the behavior patterns that have long since come to be trademarks of the sociopathic killer are revealed in Hickey's long, demented life of crime. Unfortunately, the police and investigators in the early 20th Century had few if any tools to battle with a solitary individual's compulsion to murder young newsboys who wandered the urban streets alone.


From his first murder at eighteen until his capture and conviction nearly three decades later, Hickey traveled and worked at anonymous clerical or engineering jobs while he committed murders of breathtaking brazenness, sometimes attacking in open view. Hickey was well into middle age when his need for public attention drove him to taunt his victims' families and mock the police. He began a long series of correspondence about his crimes in the form of postcards. He enjoyed knowing that they could be read by anybody while they were en route. The postcards eventually formed the net that snared him.”


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