AACIS is driven by a simple and clear vision; provide the best cruelty investigation training and animal control officer certification available in North America. Every decision we make must improve the quality of the services that we provide, period. With this mindset, AACIS invests its resources accordingly to stay on the leading edge of investigative techniques and training methods for the purpose of professionalizing animal cruelty investigations.
AACIS was conceived and founded Doug Eddins, a Florida law enforcement officer who recognized a large gap in the quality of training received between animal control professionals and law enforcement. Additionally, he recognized that the complexity of animal cruelty investigations required a more detailed approach that many other types of criminal investigations. Consequently, he began researching, interviewing with industry experts, and writing a curriculum that went deeper into the investigative process than any other training company at the time. Many states invested in the training and the results were amazing! Soon, prosecutors, law enforcement officers, and animal control professionals were working together as a unit to investigate and successfully prosecute cases of animal cruelty.
Today, AACIS trains hundreds of officers and agencies every year. The thousands of hours that AACIS spends on curriculum development and training has paid off and resulted in a positive impact on our society’s ability to investigate and prosecute crimes of animal cruelty.
In 2015, the American Animal Cruelty Investigations School (AACIS) established standards for basic and advanced training programs for law enforcement and animal control professionals who conduct animal cruelty investigations. As part of the standard development process, AACIS put together a research committee to:
- Develop a job task analysis describing how investigators conduct animal cruelty investigations.
- Develop training objectives that meet performance requirements of the investigations process.
- Compare the performance requirements and training objectives to current available training resources.
- Determine what performance requirements are not represented by an objective in the curriculum.
- Make recommendations to enhance and update the animal cruelty investigator training program.
The research committee passed their results to the curriculum development team so that the recommendations could be implemented into the training curriculum for basic and advanced officer training programs.
The curriculum development team included law enforcement officers, animal control officers, crime scene investigators, attorneys, and veterinarians. The team collaborated over a period of six months to develop curriculum objectives and instructional strategies based on the performance steps of the job task analysis. The results of their efforts are four courses specifically designed to train investigators in the particulars of animal cruelty investigations.
The Professional Animal Cruelty Investigator courses are core elements of the AACIS specialized training program. They are part of a series of non-sequential general skills training programs. These courses are designed to enhance an officer’s knowledge, skills, and abilities for conducting animal cruelty investigations.
These courses were developed based on the actual duties and tasks performed by animal cruelty investigators throughout the United States. They are designed to provide instruction in the procedures for investigating incidents of animal cruelty, including crime scene processing, legal considerations and procedures, evaluating animal welfare, and field operations.
The courses are non-sequential and specific hours have not been assigned. Also, an instructor may cover an entire course or selected topic areas, depending on specific training needs. Students taking these courses should have some investigative experience.
Meet the Founders
Doug and Stephanie Eddins are the principal driving force of AACIS. They are relentless in their pursuit of excellence and determination to professionalize animal cruelty investigations and the officers that conduct them. Together they have conducted countless criminal investigations which have resulted in successful prosecution of canine, feline, equine, livestock, exotic, and avian cruelty cases.
Doug Eddins earned his bachelor’s degree in Business Administration at the University of Louisville College of Business in Louisville, KY. He brings law enforcement experience and application of constitutional law during criminal investigations to AACIS. He is an instructor at Gulf Coast State College and teaches the state-mandated animal control officer certification classes for the Florida Animal Control Association. Additionally, he serves as a court-appointed cruelty investigator and assists other law enforcement and animal control agencies across the country with cruelty investigations.
Director of Curriculum Development
Stephanie brings a wealth of animal behavior and medical knowledge to AACIS. With over 35 years experience with exotic animals, birds, and marine life, Stephanie’s background in veterinary medicine never fails to grab the student’s attention. Stephanie is a sergeant with animal control and has successfully investigated and prosecuted some of the largest equine cruelty and dogfighting cases in the state of Florida. She is also an instructor at Gulf Coast State College and teaches the state-mandated animal control officer certification classes for the Florida Animal Control Association.
In 2016, Stephanie became the first animal control officer in Escambia County to receive the Medal of Commendation from Sheriff David Morgan for her outstanding accomplishments in prosecuting felony cases of animal cruelty.
In 2017, Stephanie was selected as the Animal Control Officer of the Year by the Florida Animal Control Association for her accomplishments in modernizing her agency, creating policies and procedures that improve officer safety and productivity, developing inter-agency relationships, and serving as a certified expert witness in prosecuting animal cruelty.