Sergeant Paul Zipper, Ph.D. has been with the Massachusetts State Police for 24 years. He earned his Ph.D. from Northeastern University and an M.S. degree in Justice from American University. He has a B.S in Criminal Justice and a B.S. in Media Systems and Management from Westfield St, College. Zipper has has been assigned to the Fire and Explosion Investigation Unit operating out of the State Fire Marshal’s Office for the past 18 years. He has conducted hundreds of fire investigations over the years, in the process gaining an expertise in witness and suspect interview and interrogation techniques.
His work with the Lawrence Arson Task Force, which began in 1992, brought him national (and international) attention. He has lectured in Australia, Canada and The United Kingdom. He has taught the arson investigation class at the FBI National Academy. The Massachusetts State Police Academy has utilized his training program on interview and interrogation techniques. He has also been part of the development team that developed the basic and advanced fire investigation courses at the Massachusetts Fire Academy.
As a consultant for the Tri-Data Corporation, Sergeant Zipper conducted comprehensive evaluations of arson and fire investigation units in major cities across the country. He served as a technical advisor with the United States Fire Administration through the National Fire Academy on a project, which developed a course in Interview Interrogation and Courtroom Testimony Techniques.
He is currently a technical advisor with the USFA on a Juvenile Firesetter Curriculum. As the liaison for the FIU with the Massachusetts State Coalition for Juvenile Firesetter Programs, Sergeant Zipper has helped draft program standards and guidelines for screening interviews and referral procedures, and has worked to formalize the interface between law enforcement and the multi-disciplinary intervention programs. He is a contributing author of the text, Firesetting in Children and Youth: A Multidisciplinary Practical Handbook.In 2004 He was part of the team that developed and delivered a curriculum titled “the investigation of youth set fires” for the International Association of Arson Investigators (IAAI). He has also co-authored an article titled “Children and Arson: The Importance of Early Intervention in Juvenile Firesetting:” for The FBI in their Law Enforcement Bulletin which was published in April of 2005.