Retired agent Michael Harrigan served in the FBI for 22 years. He initially worked general criminal and terrorism cases in the Kansas City Division and was on the Attorney General’s Protection Detail and the Police Training Coordinator in the Washington Field Office (WFO). In this episode of FBI Retired Case File Review, he reviews the Violent Criminal Apprehension Program (ViCAP), the largest repository of serial violent crime cases in the country, and the Highway Serial Killings Initiative. He was the unit’s chief and oversaw the development of the web database which allows client law enforcement agencies direct access to conduct independent analysis. He also provides case studies of several serial murders, including those committed by Samuel Little who may be the most prolific serial killer in U.S. History.
Later in his career, Mike Harrigan was assigned as the Supervisory Senior Resident Agent in Farmington and Gallup offices of the Albuquerque Division where he conducted and supervised criminal investigations involving homicide, sexual assault, kidnapping, missing persons and unidentified human remains and was responsible for all federal investigations on three Native American reservations. After a few years, he accepted an assignment in Quantico, Virginia to be the Chief of the National Academy (NA) Program. The NA is the leading national law enforcement executive leadership institution, graduating over 1800 senior law enforcement officers from every state and more than 40 countries. Before he retired in 2018, Harrigan was the Chief of the FBI Academy’s Firearms Training Program. He recently wrote a post on LinkedIn titled A Leadership Perspective of FBI Academy Firearms Training that is a must-read if you’re interested in applying for the FBI.
Currently, he is a subject matter expert for Eagle, a security and risk management service, for whom he provides consultation and expert testimony related to violent crime analysis, the use of force continuum, police procedures and policies, LEOSA and various issues related to policing Indian Country.
Special Agent (Retired)
October 1996 – December 2018
“The detective stops the truck on the highway and starts talking to the truck driver, Mendenhall, and then he notices blood on the door of the truck.” Retired agent Michael Harrigan
The following are links to articles and videos featuring Mike Harrigan on the FBI website about the ViCAP, Highway Serial Killings Initiative, as well as news articles about serial killer Sam Little:
FBI Website – ViCAP Fighting Violent Crime for 25 Years
GCN – 11/1/2018: A proven program, rebuilt from the ground up
Los Angeles Times – 4/5/2009: FBI makes a connection between long-haul truckers, serial killings
Washinton Post – 6/8/2019: Convicted murderer now linked to more than 60 deaths may be most prolific serial killer in U.S. history
Here’s a list of the listener questions addressed by Michael Harrigan during Part Two of the interview – Episode 177.
- How is your caseload determined and delegated?
- Have you ever caught a totally unsuspecting family off guard as to their loved one being murdered by a SK? That one’s tough.
- Victim count – which serial killer would (currently), in the US, be considered the most prolific. And if you know, do you suspect that the body count could grow or IS growing?
- Was this your assigned position or something you worked towards
- Do you only work active or viable case’s if the killer is still living? What’s the oldest case (dated back) that comes to mind where you matched a victim to the killer?
- Have you noticed a specific region in the US with a disproportionate amount of SK’s?
- Do you believe if the Federal Govt. funded states for explicitly for the testing of the back log of rape kits, that we would see a staggering increase of SK’s? Maybe preventing the next?
- How effective or accurate is the confirmation of a potential victim(s) after the killer is deceased? Do the victims become categorized as death suspected by or remain as an active file/investigation?
- Is it true that many police depts don’t fill out the Vicap forms because they’re so lengthy?
- What can communities like ours do to help you out. What information is good to spread and what information isn’t.
- How much information do you need to start your tracking. What’s the absolute minimum amount of information.
- Will there ever be more public disclosure via technology & centralization of data – not only on ViCap, but on missing, murdered and unidentified remains? For example I see 70 people on ViCap, but we have 2-5k forensic unknown DNA profiles in Codis for SKs. There have to be more.
- Is it possible to determine how many SKs are currently active via Vicap stats?