As a Ph.D. student at Sam Houston State University, Michael J. Devine worked on a protocol for multi-agency investigative teams for serial murders. He later used that process to help solve the case of the Bedroom Basher, a home-invading serial rapist and murderer who confessed to killing five women and an unborn child in Orange County, CA.
Since graduating from the College of Criminal Justice in 1988, Dr. Devine has spent his career as a Special Agent with the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS), a federal law enforcement agency charged with investigating felony cases in the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps. The agency has three main divisions, including criminal investigation, foreign counter intelligence and fraud.
With the expertise he has developed in his 22-year career, Dr. Devine has also provided assistance to the technical advisors for the television series “NCIS,” helping writers understand the intricate details of the agency’s operations.
"In one episode, where NCIS hostages were being held at the NCIS headquarters building, writers wanted to know if the FBI’s HRT (Hostage Rescue Team) would respond to assist the NCIS aboard a Naval facility," Dr. Devine said.
Dr. Devine’s career has been like an ongoing episode of NCIS, with 10 years spent investigating murders, rapes, child abuse and narcotic cases in the criminal investigation division. He specialized in child abuse and exploitation as well as narcotics cases.
"I've worked every kind of case from serial murders to stolen tool boxes," said Dr. Devine.
Most recently, Dr. Devine is assigned to the foreign counter intelligence unit, where his primary duties include technology protection and counter-intelligence. He investigates espionage as well as illegal transfer of critical Navy technology and the loss or compromise of classified materials.
"I am responsible for the protection of critical Navy technology and conduct investigations of illegal sales of military technology to foreign powers," Dr. Devine said.
Dr. Devine has been nominated three times as NCIS Special Agent of the Year. The first was for the serial murder case of U.S. Marine Staff Sgt. Gerald Parker, who went on a killing spree from 1978 to 1980. Although he was arrested in a child rape in 1980, his involvement in the series of cases where an intruder slipped into homes to rape and murder women in Orange County, CA., would remain unsolved for a decade.
Dr. Devine also received accolades for breaking up a major methamphetamine ring involving Marines assigned to a helicopter repair unit and for his participation in a multi-agency investigation of a government contract company who was selling a device to China used for nuclear testing.
While Dr. Devine works with the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps, he is a civilian employee. He is currently assigned as a Task Force Officer to the Los Angeles office of the FBI as well as a member of the squad responsible for the investigation of espionage. He previously served on the Joint Counter Intelligence Task Force and the Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF) in Los Angeles. Dr. Devine also has been responsible for providing protective service details for dignitary personnel from Department of Defense and Department of Navy as well as dignitaries from foreign countries.
Dr. Devine said the NCIS has a wide variety of job opportunities for criminal justice majors and other college graduates. Among the specialties available are general crimes, foreign counter intelligence, fraud, cybercrime and terrorism. Agents also have specialties in child abuse, cold case homicides, narcotics, crime scene technology, interrogations and polygraph.
"The best part of working for NCIS is the variety of cases," said Devine. "An Agent can be assigned as a Task Force Officer at the FBI, be forward deployed to a war zone or serve as an Agent afloat aboard an aircraft carrier. One of the greatest aspects of NCIS is the diversity of assignments we have."
In addition to his career with NCIS, Dr. Devine has been a member of the U.S. Navy Reserve for 26 years, a job he began while pursing his Master’s degree at SHSU. As a Captain and Naval Intelligence Officer, he has been assigned to cities and ports across the country, including Houston, San Diego, Las Vegas, Phoenix, New Orleans, Hawaii and San Diego. He was called to active duty after the first Iraq War and following the terrorist attacks of 9-11.
As a Navy Reservist, Dr. Devine’s duties have involved various forms of collection, analysis and dissemination of critical intelligence to the war fighter. His military position also gives him a unique perspective in his job at NCIS.
Dr. Devine also taught new agent classes for the FBI in Los Angeles and served as adjunct faculty at Chapman University in Orange County, California. An Eagle Scout, Dr. Devise serves as Co-Scoutmaster for Troop 507 in La Canada, CA and is on the Board of Directors for the La Canada Spartan Boosters, a group that sponsors extracurricular activities for La Canada High School.
Devine said his education at Sam Houston State University helped to develop his organizational skills, and classes he took in child abuse assisted him in his criminal investigations. He also served as assistant director of the Sam Houston Police Academy, an in-service training facility located at the Criminal Justice Center in the 1980s and early 1990s.
Devine credits retired professor Dr. Douglas Moore, a former Navy Intelligence Officer and SHSU faculty member for 32 years, for his career direction by encouraging him to join the Navy Reserves during his studies and applying to NCIS.
"I’ve always felt the job of a professor is to help direct and guide students," said Dr. Moore. "Michael Devine is a great example of where that worked out. He has done so much toward representing the NCIS and to the country as a whole."