CNM Criminal Justice Program Partnering with New Mexico State Police to Run Collaborative Cold Case Class

This 14-week course is unique for a two-year institution and will provide students with hands-on experience working on criminal investigations
April 09, 2024

The CNM Criminal Justice program is excited to announce the launch of its Cold Case Collaborative course launching at the end of this month. This course was developed in partnership with the New Mexico State Police Department as a way to provide students with real world experience and to help serve communities across New Mexico. 

“We’ve been developing this class over the last two years and we’re so glad to have our first cohort start this Summer Term,” says John Solomon, CNM Criminal Justice Program Director and Instructor. “This is a very unique opportunity for our students to live out the ideal of relentlessly seeking truth and justice.”

John started developing this class back in 2021 when he became the Criminal Justice Program Director. As the new program director, he was asked to find innovative ways to advance CNM’s Criminal Justice program and found inspiration from a four-year institution in Michigan that had developed and launched a successful cold case class. 

With the guidance of the lead instructor from the university in Michigan, John got to work on developing a similar class for CNM and contacted the New Mexico State Police Department to gauge their interest.

“The state police were very excited to partner with CNM, which was critical to this course getting off the ground,” John says. “They have numerous cold cases and a limited amount of staff to work on them, so it’s a win-win for everyone.”

During the 14-week course, a selected cohort of criminal justice students will review and digitize the files of one cold case. Along with scanning all of the files associated with the case, which can include everything from official police reports to receipts, the students will write an abstract of each file so it is easily searchable. 

Once the files are digitized, the students will analyze the files and identify any gaps the cold case investigators may want to follow up on. 

“The final project for this class is an analysis of the files that will include suggestions investigators can act on, like following up with an eye witness or sending a piece of evidence for testing,” John explains. “The students  won’t be testifying in court or chasing down leads themselves, but they are playing a critical role in helping ensure every detail of a case is accessible and usable, which could ultimately help the state police make a connection they hadn’t been able to before.”

As John prepares to welcome the first cold case cohort on April 29, he couldn’t be more excited to see this course come to life. 

“This course has been two years in the making, and I’m just really looking forward to seeing it get off the ground,” he says. “With cold cases you can’t find a solution until you find the beginning, and I’m really proud and grateful to help the state police and the community uncover those beginnings while also serving our students.” 

Applications for the Cold Case Collaborative are now open. Applicants must be a declared Criminal Justice major, have completed CJUS 2140 Criminal Investigations, and submit an application form. Selected students will also be required to submit to a thorough NMSP background check and sign confidentiality agreements with both CNM and NMSP. 

Applications must be submitted to the Criminal Justice Program Director at least eight weeks prior to the start of a semester. Please contact John Solomon at with questions.