Sheila L. Stephens was the first female Alcohol, Tobacco & Firearms (ATF) special agent in the state of Alabama, recruited while a police officer in Mountain Brook, Alabama. After an on-the-job injury, she turned toward education. She has a unique platform from which to write, speak, and teach about the people and issues of law enforcement.
Stephens is a graduate of The Federal Law Enforcement Training Center, the Alabama State Trooper Academy and the University of Alabama (with a degree in Special/Hearing Impaired Education). In September 2007, she graduated from Boston University with a Master’s Degree in Criminal Justice, and is in the process of completing a PhD in Forensic Psychology.
While a special agent with ATF, she was a member of the Regional/National Response Team, a select group of first responders to arson and explosives scenes. She was chosen as a representative to several multi-agency/multi-state offensives, such as one against a domestic terrorist group in Arkansas, where she was as a member of the entry team, the search team and the select interview team. She has participated in undercover operations across the U.S.
She holds degrees and certificates in the areas of Education, Interviewing/Interrogation, Hypnosis, and Street Survival, and has taught at the Birmingham Police Academy. A Criminal Justice Professor at New Charter University, she also facilitates Terrorism, Victimology, Criminology, Analytical Methods and Research Methods at Boston University’s online Master’s in Criminal Justice program as well. Additionally, she is an adjunct professor at Jefferson State College, Shelby Campus, where she develops new courses in criminal justice and private/public security.
She speaks on law enforcement and security issues at organizations and conferences around the country. She recently presented The “CSI Effect” on Real Crime Labs at the New England School of Law, and wrote an article on the subject that appears in their Law Review. In July 2008, The Everything Private Investigation Book was released, and her Book of Weapons, a text about the history, present use and future of weapons will be released soon.
Stephens owns a private investigation/security business specializing in background checks and hidden camera technology for police departments, businesses and the monitoring of caregivers. A popular speaker on literacy, and an advocate for mandatory heavy metals testing at yearly physicals and in emergency rooms, she is also Associate Editor of The Agent, the newsletter of the National Association of Federal Agents (NAFA). Finally, she is a member of the American Psychological Association (APA), the Society for Police and Criminal Psychology (SPCP), the National Association of Investigative Specialists (NAIS), Sisters in Crime, Mystery Writers of America (MWA), International Thriller Writers, and the authors’ and speakers’ association, The Crime Lab Project. Look for her regular columns in the MWA Killer Nashville Newsletter and Blog.