Media RelationsWestern University

    Police officer-turned-professor takes classroom to crime scenes

    With TV series like Sherlock and True Detective gripping international audiences and critics alike, it's no wonder two courses offered by Western University's Faculty of Arts & Humanities dedicated to sleuths and truths are capturing the imagination of students like a homicide investigator aims to catch a killer

    Police officer-turned-professor Mike Arntfield has developed two unique courses for the Department of English & Writing Studies and while one is based in fact and the other fiction, both are grounded in real life law enforcement and exploring the criminal mind.

    In Forensic Writing, Arntfield and his students examine the evidentiary and investigative importance of delivering airtight legal documents for use in criminal prosecution, civil litigation, public inquiry, or inquest. 

    "Most of my forensic writing students do not necessarily see themselves writing search warrants or wire taps down the road," explains Arntfield. "They are students that have a passion for writing, a passion for language and ultimately have found this highly detailed and very specific line of work exhilarating."  

    Conceptually, his second course offering, Writing Crime Fiction, is not inimitable but having served 15 years as a police officer, specializing in robbery, vice, major crimes (homicide) and criminal intelligence, Arntfield has an exceptional understanding of criminology and shares that invaluable insight with prospective crime novelists. 

    "Like science fiction, which is ultimately rooted in science and serves the interests of science, crime writing also needs to impart a certain degree of expertise," says Arntfield. "Whether true crime or crime fiction, an author needs to have an awareness of the lingo and the procedure used in actual crimes and criminal investigation."

    Arntfield's ability to transfer his skills and knowledge to amateur detectives has landed him a new TV series, called To Catch a Killer, which is debuting in February on OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network (Canada). Each one-hour episode of the docudrama introduces a different cold case that Arntfield and his team of tech-savvy civilians, which includes Western PhD candidate Renee Willmon, work to solve utilizing an interdisciplinary academic approach.

    For more on To Catch a Killer, please visit

    MEDIA CONTACT: Jeff Renaud, Senior Media Relations Officer, 519-661-2111, ext. 85165,, @jeffrenaud99

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    Mike Arntfield
    Mike Arntfield