2023 NJIAAI Annual General Meeting and Training Speakers Announced

2023 NJIAAI AGM Registration Link and Info Click Here


Michele Stuart has over thirty years of investigative experience with twenty-five years operating her own company (JAG Investigations, Inc.). Ms. Stuart’s area of expertise includes Open-Source Intelligence (OSINT), counterintelligence, insurance fraud investigations, financial investigations, threat assessments, due diligence, organized retail crime, corporate and competitive intelligence.

Ms. Stuart consults and trains federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies, the military intelligence communities, fortune 500 companies as well as the financial and insurance industries in open source, social media, and threat assessments / mitigation.  She has been an Instructor at Quantico (FBI Academy) for international training in Open-Source Intelligence (OSINT).

In 2017, Ms. Stuart partnered with Pennsylvania Office of Homeland Security creating a program “Keeping Kids Safe”, training administrators, principals, teachers, SRO’s, and parents on the dangers of online and social media activity, predator grooming as well as the dangers of applications / cellular security.


The internet provides investigators with the ability to ascertain information on subjects efficiently. Focusing on the individual(s) is not always the answer. Identifying actionable intelligence is an extremely important aspect in research to assist in the identification, movement, business associations, relatives, addresses / telephone numbers of individuals.  Additionally, correct searches of social media platforms can assist in identifying suspects and witnesses in an investigation. During the presentation, participants will learn how to utilize correct search patterns, identify and use open source resources and search social media platforms.



Steven J. Avato is a retired Captain who was with the Loudoun County (VA) Fire Marshal’s Office from 2016 until 2022. Prior to his employment with Loudoun County,  Avato was employed by the United States Department of Justice, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) from May 1989 until his retirement in 2016. During that time, he served in numerous fire and explosion related specialty positions including ATF Division Chief at the National Explosives Task Force (NETF), Resident Agent in Charge (RAC) of the Falls Church I (Arson / Explosives) Field Office (2005 – 2013) Certified Fire Investigator Training Manager (Arson and Explosives Division), National Response Team (NRT) Supervisor and the National Response Team Program Manager. Mr. Avato was an ATF Certified Fire Investigator (CFI) and an ATF Certified Explosives Specialist (CES) investigating incidents in Southeastern Pennsylvania while assigned to the Philadelphia Arson Task Force and in Southern New Jersey while assigned to the Trenton (NJ) Field Office.    

Mr. Avato is currently an International Association of Arson Investigators (IAAI) Certified Fire Investigator. In 2000, he was honored by the IAAI as Investigator of the Year in recognition of his involvement in the investigation of a double fatal fire in Southeastern Pennsylvania.

Prior to joining ATF, Avato served the Philadelphia (PA) Police Department from 1981 to 1989 as a sergeant and police officer. He holds a bachelor’s degree (BA) in Biology from Temple University, a bachelor’s degree (BS) in Fire Science from the University of Maryland University College, a master’s degree (MS) in Biodefense from George Mason University and a post-graduate Certificate of Intelligence Studies in Leadership and Management in the Intelligence Community from the National Intelligence University. 


This presentation is designed to encourage participants to critically examine the concepts of the hypothesis and hypothesis development in fire investigation. Across the range of experience levels, fire investigators should be aware of the systematic methodology of fire investigation, based on the scientific method, as described in Chapter 4 of NFPA 921 Guide for Fire and Explosion Investigations. This approach includes the crucial step “Develop hypotheses” in what is presented in Figure 4.3 of NFPA 921 as a linear, iterative process.


Friday March 3rd Speaker to be confirmed soon!!!!